For example, if one of my non-speaking students had a seizure out at the mall with his or her PCA, then the PCA could coordinate his or her emergency care. However, what if one of my students was at the mall with his or her PCA and the PCA had a medical emergency, perhaps fainted or choked? How would emergency workers know who to contact for my student? How would emergency workers know whether or not my student's behavior/medical status was normal for him or her? (Trust me, no one is going to set up that AAC device if it is not set up already to ask the individual.)
The answer is that the medical worker would not know. Not unless the student was wearing or carrying some kind of identification. At the very least, I hope that the my student was carrying some kind of cell phone with I.C.E. (In Case of Emergency, MOM or DAD programmed into speed dial) and someone answered.
My "better safe than sorry" recommendation is a cell phone plus both a medical ID bracelet, necklace or shoe tag (a shoe tag is a great way to go with sensory defensive kids) and an information tag/card hanging on the back of the wheelchair, the back pack or in a wallet.
I personally wear a Medic Alert bracelet (the one that has the toll free number that rescue workers or emergency rooms can call for more information on my medical condition), carry a wallet card and have a medic alert sticker on my car (I am an insulin pump using diabetic). I have friends who also carry a bright red, medic alert, encrypted flash drive with their medical files. I would love to see all of my students and all people with disabilities do the same.
When my friend's daughter, who has significant disabilities, was in a minor school bus accident and was taken to the emergency room they looked in her back pack for emergency contact information, prompting us to make emergency information cards and place them in every student's backpack in our classroom.
In addition, Medic Alert even sells bracelets/ID for caregivers as part of their safe return program, the bracelets state that the individual is a caregiver for someone with _____ disability and to call the toll free number for more information. When the emergency worker calls the number they not only receive information on the caregiver, but also on the individual with a disability.
Here is the link to Medic Alert and other medical identification and similar companies:
- Medic Alert
- American Medical ID
- Med IDs
- Lauren's Hope Medical ID
- Oneida Jewlery
- Medic Assist
- Vital ID (has shoe tags)
- Petite Baubles (has shoe tags)
- FiddledeeIDs (has shoe, belt and bag tags)
- Sticky Jewlery
- MEDICAL INFO USB DRIVE
- Identify Me (UK)
- ID4U (AU)
- Outdoor ID (NZ)
- Ice Gems (UK)
- My Very Necessary Medical ID Card
- National Emergency Medical ID
- Autism Temporary Tattoo ID
- Yellow Cross (UK)