June 18, 2018
Summer break. Sandy beaches. Camp for the kids. Time with friends and family. That's what most parents are thinking of as the summer season approaches. But it should also be a time for parents to focus on safety - especially if they have children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Natasha Barber's son, Joshua, was just 6 years old when he wandered away from home without anyone noticing.
“Safety didn’t even get in front of my eyes until he was in kindergarten, and he escaped,” Barber said. “You don’t want parents to have to live through this experience, you want them to know [what to do] ahead of time.”
Barber was inspired to help other parents in any way she could, so she took action and founded her own nonprofit organization, Autism Moms Know Safety.
“The nonprofit is strictly to raise awareness for autism safety. Autism Moms Know Safety started by just posting what resources were out there, then it started to grow. I started doing forms and games and other types of visuals for children. Now it’s grown into the project, which is the Safety Kits.”
The Safety Kits are free of charge to families, and include a variety of helpful resources for parents, including:
- Child identification cards & wristbands
- Interactive matching board for safety signs, community signs, and travel
- Coupons and flyers for safety resources, such as Angel Sense GPS, wallet cards, customized temporary tattoo ID packs, and more
- Emergency contact forms
- "Child On Board" vehicle decals
- Informational sheets and educational materials
- Flyer for the children's book The Waiting Song
Supporting the Cause
Earlier in 2018, Centria Healthcare granted $1,000 to Autism Moms Know Safety to cover the cost of 250 Safety Kits. Additionally, Barber and her family were invited to the Centria Healthcare headquarters in Novi, Michigan, to host a Safety Kit Stuffing Party. With the help of Centria’s 200 office employees, the 250 Safety Kits were assembled in just 30 minutes!
Barber said that she is excited to help hundreds of families through the grant.
"I would like to thank Centria for their generosity in providing a grant for the AMKS Safety & Resource Kits," Barber said. "I hope to continue working with Centria in Michigan, and expand throughout the nation to provide more families with safety kits."
Meet Natasha Barber at Centria’s Sensory-Friendly Safety Day!
On June 30, 2018, Natasha will be on-site with her Safety Kits at Centria’s Sensory-Friendly Safety Day event in Farmington Hills, Michigan! The event is free and open to the public, and will feature special guest appearances from the Farmington Hills Fire Department & Police Department. They will be bringing “sensory friendly” emergency vehicles - meaning, all flashing lights and sirens will be kept off to accommodate kids with autism. Other fun activities will include: safety games, a Stop Drop & Roll station, face painting, a photo booth, snacks, resource tables, and more!
RSVP online to let us know that you'll be attending Sensory-Friendly Safety Day!