Saturday, November 22, 2014

I Was Absolutely Thrilled to Have My Eleven Year Old Son Accompany Me to the Annual Oklahoma Statewide #Autism Conference for the 2nd Year!

Nothing makes me happier than having had Nathan, my eleven year old son, accompany me to the Oklahoma Statewide Autism Conference for the second year in a row. Last year, it was at the Reed Conference Center in Midwest City but, I was glad that it was going to be at the Embassy Suites in Norman this year. The first time I attended the Oklahoma Statewide Autism Conference, in 2011 at the Embassy Suites in Norman, was a major turning point in my life, and that in my family's journey alongside Nathan. It was an amazing experience to be able to learn more about Autism Spectrum Disorders, with other parents and have access to all of the resources available at this event.

Every year, that I attend the Oklahoma Statewide Autism Conference, the event is always better than the one from the year before. Even though I'm a leader of the AutismOKC parent support group, a paraprofessional in the public school system and a college student pursuing my teacher certificate in Special Education, I started out as the parent of a child diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). It is extremely important for me to remember how we started our journey, before and after our youngest son was diagnosed on the spectrum. One of the reasons I started blogging was to document the successes we celebrated, as well as the challenges we faced as a family, while literally following a road map written in invisible ink!

As we approach the holidays, please remember to reach out and share something positive with someone you know. It is critical for those around us know how important they are in our family support system. I'm thankful for each and every person in my family, everyone in my husband's family and our many wonderful friends. If it wasn't for them supporting us as they have from the beginning, our family would not be where we are today! So, take the time to either set that lunch date, make that call or send that message to that special person who has taken the time to show their support to your family. It will make all of the difference in the world for them to hear how important he or she has been to your family's journey! If YOU have a unique way of honoring those who support you, please take a moment to share with us in the comment section below. I always look forward to hearing from our readers and supporters!! Also, if you would like to share something that you have learned to make Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any other family tradition a success, please email me at with the details. Your tips, tricks and/or wisdom could be our next featured guest post! My family hopes that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend with your family!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Let's Make a Change in the Statistics by Becoming Supportive of Each Other and by Reaching Out to the #Autism Families in our Surrounding Community

I am always shocked when I hear about a story like the one that has been in the news the last few weeks. My first response is that if this mom had a family member and/or friend in the community, she might have been able to cope with whatever overwhelming feeling that she was experiencing at the time, and have been able to avoid this whole unfortunate situation. I am not making excuses for this mother, or any other individual who has made an unforgivable choice as she has made. I'm just reminding us that all parents of special needs children have felt overwhelmed and/or isolated at one time or another and need the support of those around us! It is important that we all have someone that is close enough to us to make sure that we get the "Me" time that we need, whether it is weekly, twice a week or maybe after the children are in bed each night.

Even though we are occasionally faced with some of the most challenging situations, we are all personally responsible for our actions and the decisions that we make. There is absolutely no excuse for any parent to let his, or her, feelings of despair build up to the point that they don't reach out for help, or assistance, before taking the life of the person they feel is causing their world to close in on them. Most of you know exactly what story I am referring to. It is devastating to read the details of such a story and it takes everything for me to not scream at the individual who took the life of the very child who loved and trusted her to protect him. It infuriates me, it saddens me but, it reminds me how very thankful that I am because I have such a loving husband that supports my physical health, as well as my mental health. I know that I can depend on him to tell me when I need a break. 

Everyone needs someone who they can talk to and with about what's going on in their life, whether it's good or bad. Who do you have? If you can't answer that question, please reach out to and make contact with the person you trust the most, or contact your local community parenting assistance center. Please don't let you and your family become a statistic like the family which I have mentioned. You are too important to those family members, and friends around you, to not take care of yourself and enjoy the life you have been given! Take a moment and read one of my previous posts, "Pockets of Patience", for some ideas on how to handle stress. Grab some tissues and be prepared for a walk down memory lane with me! If you have time, please leave me a comment below. I always look forward to hearing from my readers and featuring a special story of survival on my autism resource blog.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

If YOU are a Parent of a Child with #Autism or #SpecialNeeds, "QR Code iD" is now "If I Need Help" and a 501 (c)(3) charity YOU Really Need To Check Out!!

It is an honor to be invited back to Nathan’s Voice. So much has happened since being here last. To start with we have changed our name from QR Code iD to If I Need Help and have become a 501(c)(3) charity.  

As you may recall our son Jay has Autism and was lost a couple times in the past so we wanted to create a way to communicate for him.  Our solution was to make personal wearable QR codes.  When the code is scanned or manually entered into the site a profile appears.  It has a picture, name, contact, emergency and behavioral info along with a password protected secure section where more personal and medical records can be stored.  All of the info can be edited in real time.  For instance when my son went on field trips with his day camp I just added his aide’s number as a contact and deleted it afterwards.

Also, a new feature is that you can send the profile to others in an Emergency email when a search is needed. We have been offering the codes on patches, pins, clips and adhesives. Already people who were lost have been reunited with their families because someone saw their code and used it to contact the family. The most recent one was on Halloween. The Mom put the patch on the back of her son’s costume. While trick or treating, he was separated from his parents and ended up with another group of kids. The Mom of that group started asking him about himself. He could say his name, and half of his phone number, but he could not say his address at all. She saw the If I Need Help patch and used it. He was back with his Dad in under 10 minutes. The boy has Epilepsy requires medication often. His Mom was relieved to have him back so quickly.

ID cards have just become available after months of development!! An If I Need Help member with high functioning Autism struggles with anxiety attacks. Even though she is usually conversational these attacks escalate rendering her unable to communicate. People around her do not know what is happening or how to help her so she has experienced some bad situations. She encouraged us to make the iD cards. They are custom made with name, number and bullet points that are printed along with the personal QR code. About a month ago she felt an attack coming on so she handed her card to a staff person who did exactly as the card instructed her and it worked more smoothly than she ever expected.

We are in the process of adding iD tags for shoes and necklaces (military style, etc.) and for key chains.  

For a limited time, we would like to offer a free patch to families, who follow Nathan's Voice autism resource blog, when they do the free sign up. On the 2nd line of the address section, write "Nathan's Voice" along with the color choice of one of the following colors: blue, green, red, grey, or white. This offer will expire the end of 2014 and we hope YOU will take advantage of the offer NOW!!! Also, PLEASE take the time to share this post with others in the social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, etc.) which you frequently visit! 

Please contact me if you have any questions or comments or if we can help out.

Erin Wilson
A 501 (c)(3) Non-Profit Organization
Twitter: @qrcodeid1