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April in Review: Campaigns to Help Children with Special Needs

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In Miami and around the world, April was a month of campaigns to help children with special needs. Recently, health officials have warned that unvaccinated American tourists attending the Olympic summer games can bring measles to the United States. Since large numbers of American travelers will visit London, Poland, and the Ukraine, the risk for measles infection increases because the virus is much more common in Europe. There have been 26,000 people infected with measles, as well as eight deaths.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has been involved in a global effort, dubbed the Measles Initiative, to fight measles. For more information, the Center for Disease Control is a good place to get information. Locally, in Miami, contact the Miami-Dade Health Department.

Because of the coming Olympic summer games, health officials are particularly concerned that travelers to London, Poland, and the Ukraine will bring measles to the United States. The risk for measles infection increases because the virus is much more common in Europe. There have been 26,000 people infected with measles, as well as eight deaths.

In Haiti, fewer than 60 percent of the children in Haiti have full vaccination protection. Haiti's minister of health is hoping to increase the percentage of vaccinated children to 90 percent. Her focus is to make sure that children under five receive vaccinations against polio and measles.

Haiti is trying to remedy this situation with a campaign to immunize as many children as possible. Focusing on vaccinations against measles, rubella, and polio, the Haiti effort coincides with a global effort to disseminate information on vaccines--the World Health Organization's Immunization Week. information on vaccines--the World Health Organization's Immunization Week.

In another area of concern for parents of children with special needs, the National Autism Association (NAA) recently launched a campaign to help parents and caregivers of children who are a risk of elopement. Running away, wandering, and elopement are common in children who have autism and other special needs.

To increase awareness and offer concrete help, the NAA offered a supply box, dubbed the Big Red Safety Box, that included a toolkit to help families dealing with the issue of elopement. This promotion was to raise awareness and share some simple tools to help parents. The kit included educational materials, such as a caregiver checklist and a Family Wandering Emergency Plan; two GE door alarms; one Who's Shoe ID; and five laminated adhesive Stop Sign Visual Prompts for doors and windows.

April was a month for awareness of these challenges for families who have children with special needs.

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