Beach Party And Safety Do Mix!!! – Wonderful Success For Local Autism Advocates

A Beach Party and Barbecue turned out to be a huge success especially when it came to emergency services demonstrations.
Autism Acceptance hosted the social gathering at the Anishnabe Spiritual Centre on August 30th with several volunteers and special guests in attendance. Co-organizer, Dennis Lendrum was joined by Autism Acceptance volunteers: Hannah Tessier, Kerri Mullen-Tessier, Wendy Lendrum, Theresa Laurenti, Andrea Noon, Nelson Williams, and Jenne Atkinson from Autism Ontario
Special guests included the Manitoulin Sudbury District Social Board Paramedic Services, North Shore Search & Rescue (NSSAR), Espanola Police Service Chief Steve Edwards, Mayor Ron Piche, Councillor Ken Duplessis and MP Carol Hughes.
With over 40 people in attendance, a great time was had by all, and over and above the party, the occasion also provided the opportunity to make some special announcements and host some key demonstrations.
North Shore Search & Rescue (NSSAR) team members have been trained over the last few months in the Project Lifesaver state-of-the-art technology for locating missing persons, which will be now available in the Espanola area. They hosted a demo to show how the bracelet is used to locate a missing person.
Earlier in the year, three Lions Clubs: Espanola, Manitoulin and Sudbury donated funds so that team could purchase its first start-up package, which included two receivers, bracelets and accessories.
Project Lifesaver International is a non-profit corporation founded in October 1998, by Chief Gene Saunders, regarded as the Father of, and subject-matter expert on electronic tracking of persons at risk in association with, the Chesapeake, Virginia Sheriff’s Office in the United States.
The organization was formed to develop a program for locating missing persons with dementia, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, Down syndrome and other related illnesses. The program involves attaching a radio transmitter device, a bracelet, to the wrist or ankle of persons at-risk of wandering.
The battery operated radio transmitter is attached with a wristband and emits a signal, which can be picked up by a receiver operated by public safety officers, or in this case, the NSSAR team.
Project Lifesaver utilizes radio frequency tracking technology, and the work is ongoing. Research is now also being carried out to see how drones can be utilized to find someone quickly and cover a wider area faster.
The program is found in 48 U.S. states, six provinces in Canada, and in Australia.
The program initially assisted police with helping find Alzheimer victims, but has now expanded to assist so many others including those with autism. The Espanola Police does have a Wandering Registry Program in place and assists units such as NSSAR if someone is missing.
Seven NSSAR team members are now qualified as instructors for the equipment to train other team members. The unit is hoping to receive more funding to purchase more units and more bracelets, which, in turn, they can rent to families who need them. The unit would look after maintenance of the equipment, including changing the batteries every 60 days.
Attendees were also pleased to learn that funding has come through for the Edge of the Box innovative program designed by a local woman, Theresa Laurenti, for children with autism will be offered once more. The program starts Tuesday, September 12th from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm at Sacred Heart School.
Lendrum adds there are a number of events planned by the local organization for the fall including a Brook Trout Feeding Excursion, Trunk or Treat for Halloween, a movie at the complex, plans for a Santa Claus parade float, and capping off the year with a Christmas dinner and dance at the Anishinabe Spiritual Centre on December 2nd.
Lendrum adds anyone wanting more information about the local group, Autism Acceptance, is encouraged to join them on Facebook. Support is warmly appreciated, he adds.
As always with volunteers’ donations, Autism Acceptance will be able enhance and create more programs.”


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