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Autism Speaks Partners with Project Lifesaver in Southeast Ohio

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Area Agency on Aging 8 (AAA8) is pleased to announce that the Sheriff’s Offices across Southeast Ohio received equipment grants from Autism Speaks in support of the Project Lifesaver program.  The Autism Speaks grants make it possible to enroll two individuals with Autism per county to Project Lifesaver.  The equipment grants totaled $9600. The Athens, Hocking, Meigs, Morgan, Monroe, Noble, Perry and Washington County Sheriff’s Offices are each participating Project Lifesaver agencies.

In Southeast Ohio, Project Lifesaver is a partnership with each County Sheriff’s Office and the Area Agency on Aging 8.  Project Lifesaver technology helps find people with a cognitive disorder such as Alzheimer’s disease or Autism when they wander from a caregiver. Clients are outfitted with a transmitter-about the size of a watch-worn on the wrist or ankle. Should the client wander, the caregiver notifies 911 and the Sheriff’s Office begins a search immediately using Project Lifesaver equipment. Without the technology, searches can last hours or days. Besides saving lives and injuries, shortening searches also save law enforcement agencies money by reducing the manpower and equipment necessary to perform searches.

“The national average rescue time using Project Lifesaver equipment is about 30 minutes”, said Cathy Ash, from the Area Agency on Aging 8 in Marietta, Ohio. She is also a National Instructor for Project Lifesaver International. “People with cognitive disorders can disappear in an instant,” she said. “These individuals can have very attentive caregivers but the caregivers have to sleep, take a shower, do laundry, cook supper or run out to the garage,” said Ash. “It can happen that quickly.”

April is Autism Awareness Month. Millions of families are affected by autism. Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders- autism spectrum disorders- caused by a combination of genes and environmental influences. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees by communication difficulties, social and behavioral challenges, and repetitive behaviors. An estimated 1 in 68 children in the U. S. is on the autism spectrum.

For more information about Project Lifesaver call the Area Agency on Aging at 1-800-331-2644.

About Autism Speaks: Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Bob and Suzanne Wright, grandparents of a child with autism. Since then, Autism Speaks has grown into the world's leading autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.  Their mission is to change the future for all who struggle with an autism spectrum disorder.

About Project Lifesaver: Project Lifesaver started in Chesapeake, Virginia, in 1999 and now has over 1,400 participating agencies throughout 48 states in the U.S., Canada, and Australia.


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A Program of Buckeye Hills-Hocking Valley Regional Development District