Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.
Portsia Smith has been following the story on a missing Caroline boy with autism.
The 9-year-old has a severe form of the developmental disorder and does not talk. Stories like this always strike fear into the hearts of parents of children who don’t talk. And so this is a good time to remind Spotsy residents of Project Lifesaver.
This is a national effort to find people with autism or Alzheimers or other disorders which could affect their ability to ask for help. The program uses wristband transmitters to locate wandering, lost adults and children. Many police departments use Project Lifesaver and run it in different ways.
In Spotsylvania, families can use the program for free.
I personally know how important this program is. My oldest son is 14 and nonverbal. We are very lucky–while many kids with autism run away, our son likes to stay close to home. But because he doesn’t talk, the first time could be devastating. So we use the tracking device as a precaution. Xander won’t wear it on his wrist, so Spotsylvania deputies got creative and put it on his ankle. They’ve always been amazingly patient and understanding when they come by monthly to change the batteries.
As part of the program, they also keep photos and descriptions of Xander on file, including lists of people he’s close to, places he likes to go and tips for getting his attention.
It really just adds to our peace of mind, and gives us one less thing to worry about–when you’re raising a kid with a disability, there really are too many worries anyway.
And here are the details for Project Lifesaver in Spotsylvania:
To sign up, contact Deputy Michael Christie or Lieutenant Eddie Peck at (540)582-7115 and ask to discuss a possible client for Project Lifesaver. The next step is an interview at the client’s home, where a Christie or Peck will brief the parent/caregiver on how the program works, how the equipment operates and explain the parent/caregiver role, as well as support from the Sheriff’s Office.
There is no cost to the resident for anything and there is no limit on how long a client can stay in the program. Currently, the program serves about 40 clients of all different ages.
To donate to the program, the checks need to be made payable to the Treasurer, Spotsylvania County; and please include in the memo line of the check the following; “Spotsylvania Project Lifesaver.”