Mason Alert Update Wandering Awareness and Prevention

On Wednesday, November 10 and Thursday November 11 the Mason Allen Medlam Foundation for Autism Safety met with the creators of the Take Me Home Program to create new registry software known as the Mason Alert Take Me Home Program.

The original software was created when Officer Jimmy Donohoe of Pensacola attended an Autism Pensacola meeting that focused on wandering safety and wandering prevention.  He realized that the parents were all frustrated and scared and didn't know what steps to take to protect their children should they manage to wander despite door locks, alarms and constant vigilance.  He also realized that the issue was much larger than a few children.

He met with Shane Lincke, Executive Vice President of CT of America, a police software developer, and together, they created software that would integrate with existing 911 systems.  This software would allow parents or caregivers of any child or adult with a cognitive disorder to register their loved one by bringing them to the local police department so they could fill out a form and have a picture taken.  The form included basic information about the disabled person such as where they live, who they are, and what their disorder is.

We approached Officer Donohoe because we felt their program was an incredible asset to every person that has a loved one who can not recognize danger, has the propensity to wander, and lacks the ability to communicate basic information.  We just felt like there were better questions that could be asked, such as location of near by hazards, the person's fascinations, if they are verbal or nonverbal, and if they have any serious health concerns such as seizures.  We also wanted to include how to interact with that person, and how that person would interact if confronted by first responders.

Not only did they agree to add the changes, but they went a step further and decided to completely update the software, making it state of the art.

This is what we discussed and plan to implement.

1.  Each State will have a dedicated server that will store all information.

2.  Parents or Caregivers will be given a user ID so that they can create and maintain their child or adults page themselves.  This will eliminate the need for already financially burdened police departments to have a specific individual(s) to do data entry for the program.

3. First Responders will be the only ones to have access to the entire data base.

4. Not only will all the Mason Alert Questions and NAA Questions be added, but there will be a field where parents or caregivers can add pertinent information that applies only to their child or adult.

5. The software will remain free for any police department that request it.

6. Facial recognition software will be added to the program.  If a police officer locates a wandering child or adult and is unable to communicate with them, they can take a picture with their dashboard camera and the software will go through the data base and match a face with a profile.

I hope that all of you can see the value and necessity of this software.  This is going to change the world for all of us with someone we love that wanders.  My son lost his life in seventeen minutes.  If this software had been available in my area, my son would still be alive and none of you would have ever heard a word from me.

I also want to say thank you, Pensacola, for having such kind, compassionate people in your city.  It is amazing to be a part of something that is going to help so many people keep their loved ones safe.  I am honored to be a part of it.


Sheila Medlam


Sheila Medlam

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