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Palmyra autism benefit to raise awareness, money for bracelet idea
Published: 7/2/2012 | Updated: 4/16/2014

By RODNEY HART
Herald-Whig Staff Writer

PALMYRA, Mo. -- Sally White is determined to protect autistic children, and she's helping organize a benefit in the name of her autistic son.

White and her husband, Clayton, are the parents of 6-year-old Shade White. Sally White says autistic children tend to wander off because they don't have a typical sense of fear, which can lead to tragic consequences.

One goal of the July 14 Shade White Autism Medical Alert Benefit is to raise money for a special armband that will help keep autistic children from getting lost. The autism medical alert bracelet will immediately identify the wearer as someone with autism to alert emergency, medical and law enforcement personnel. It will be equipped with GPS capabilities.

Sally White says she is in the process of developing a way the bracelet will be locked on the wearer without irritating the person wearing it, because people with autism often have sensory issues.

She presented her idea for the bracelet in April to Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon's office. The bracelet would be a comfort to parents, because they could set boundaries with the GPS, and an alert would be sent to the parents' cell phones should the child go outside the boundaries.

"If they would just see how many children are dying because of drowning and wandering off, they will know this a must," White said.

Sally White said she was asked by governor's office to create a prototype for the bracelet. She would like to have it created and take it back to his office to seek direction for the next step.

"I want this to go around the world. Whoever is diagnosed (with autism) should get a bracelet," she said.

The benefit will take place at the Sesquicentennial Building at Flower City Park in Palmyra with a meal beginning at 5:30 p.m. Carry outs are available. Raffle tickets are being sold for a scooter, and an auction begins at 7 p.m. The benefit includes entertainment by rock band Jubal's Lantern after the auction.

The Shade White Autism Medical Alert Benefit isn't only for the bracelet. Money also will go toward autism education and professional development for law enforcement, emergency officials and schools in Palmyra and the surrounding area. The education and training are vital to Palmyra and the region, because many people don't understand autism and how to handle people with autism, and the misunderstanding has led to mistreatment and neglect, Sally White said.

Tickets for the benefit are $10 for adults, $5 for kids 4 to 10 years old, and free for kids 3 years old and under. For more information, call White at (573) 795-3531.

-- rhart@whig.com/221-3370


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