ICE4Autism is the ONLY autism-specific ‘In Case of Emergency’ mobile app. It conveniently and intuitively stores vital information about an autistic person’s unique needs, sensitivities and behaviors – directly on their iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. Simply launch the ICE4Autism mobile app and first responders, ER doctors, nurses and administrators have immediate access to the critical information needed to treat the individual properly while helping to reduce what is sure to be a heightened level of anxiety.
ICE4Autism also stores the following information:
1. Emergency contacts
2. Basic stats including a photo, name, date of birth and blood type
3. Health Conditions
4. Allergies and Sensitivities
6. Doctors and other Providers
So, where did the idea for ICE4Autism – the ONLY autism-specific In Case of Emergency (ICE) mobile app – come from anyway?
I wish I could point to a particular moment or event that served as the inspiration for ICE4Autism, but it just didn’t happen that way. So where did the idea come from? I had just gotten my new iPhone and was being dragged – kicking and screaming – into the 21st century by my teenage son. “What apps do I want?” he asked. “I have no idea!” I replied, feeling very old-fashioned and out of touch. What I DID know was that I needed to program in my ICE (In Case of Emergency) contact information. “I’m sure there’s an app for that,” was my son’s response. A quick search on the App Store revealed several excellent ICE App options. We selected one and installed it. And then… Nothing.
I continued my day-to-day work as an independent consultant, assisting autism treatment providers through the credentialing and contracting process with insurance companies and I continued on in my role as an executive committee member on the Include Autism board of directors. I worked closely with my clients (autism treatment providers), interacted regularly with individuals on the autism spectrum and their families, and kept up my practice of reading anything and everything I came across related to the needs and issues impacting the autism community. And still… Nothing.
Throughout my years of working the field, I had learned a great deal about autism and had been struck time and time again by the challenges that its unique nature presented. I had come to appreciate the deep and very real-world significance of the adage… “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism”.
Then one day, and for no particular reason, the stars aligned and “it” happened: Since each individual with autism is unique, what would happen in an emergency? Even if the paramedic, police officer or firefighter knew that the patient has autism, what practical/useful information would that label provide? Not a lot!
I knew that there needed to be a quick (and efficient) method of providing first responders with specific, actionable information about an autistic person’s individual and unique needs. How does that particular person communicate and want to be communicated with? Are there sensory issues, stressors or triggers that could exacerbate an already challenging situation? Does he or she exhibit any behaviors that could be misinterpreted and, as a result, be improperly treated?
The idea for ICE4Autism – an ‘easy-to-use and access’ mobile app that would store all the information needed to provide proper care and treatment based on an individual’s unique and personal needs – seemed so obvious that I was sure someone else had already done it! Hours of research gleaned that, in fact, an autism-specific In Case of Emergency app did NOT exist. And, so, the travails of the ICE4Autism mobile app began.
I knew precisely what I wanted ICE4Autism to be: It had to be easy for the user to input and store his or her unique information AND it had to be efficient for first responders to access the information. It had to be cost effective so that price wouldn’t be a barrier. It had to allow users to determine what was most important to THEM to share with emergency personnel AND it had to provide easy access to the essential information first responders require.
After months of development, and with valuable input from and collaboration with individuals on the spectrum, ICE4Autism was launched on the App Store on World Autism Awareness Day in April 2015. It has been extremely gratifying to watch as ICE4Autism begins to make inroads within the autism community and the feedback has been phenomenal.
There are many more individuals with autism, and their family members, who could benefit from ICE4Autism – so my work now is focused on spreading the word. On many days I feel like I’m standing on a mountain top shouting through a megaphone and that no one is listening. But then I’ll get note from someone telling me that they got the app and that they love it because it gives them a sense of security they didn’t have before. THAT makes it all worthwhile!
ICE4Autism – the ONLY autism-specific In Case of Emergency (ICE) app – is available on the App Store for a one-time fee of only $1.99 (USD or the equivalent). ICE4Autism does not display any ads and offers no ‘in app’ purchases or other distractions. It’s clean, it’s simple and it does what it needs to do with no bells or whistles.
By Wanda Refaely, Founder and Chief ICE Cube at ICE4Autism
As featured in Autism Parenting Magazine: Affordable Emergency App Makes Difference in Autism Community