As parents of a kid with special needs, Paolo and Chona Rodriguez, want to raise awareness about how important medical ID bracelets are. Read on to learn more about their passion project, Patrick's Way....
For parents of children with special needs, having the peace of mind that their kids are always safe. Simple measures such as making sure they carry around identification at all times can truly assure parents that they'll be safe.
That's why Chona Rodriguez, a mom to a kid with special needs, started Patrick's Way with her husband Paolo.
In an interview with theAsianparent Philippines, the mom-of-three told us more about it.
"Medical ID Bracelets are wearable IDs that contain a person's information like name, medical condition and emergency contact info. This is especially important for persons with special needs especially in times when they are not able to speak for themselves. (emergency, non-verbal, unconscious, etc)," said Chona, adding that their customers are mostly children with special needs, elderly and "individuals with pre-existing conditions like diabetes, allergies, seizures, etc. It is a source of comfort and peace of mind for family and carers as well."
Even the general public, particularly outdoor athletes, have begun to see its benefits. The Medical I.D. bracelets are useful during travelling, field trips or, Chona shares, activities that involve the possibility of getting injured or lost.
The creative couple started producing the bracelets, inspired by their own experience.
"We were motivated to make the product available in the Philippines as it was so difficult for us to have to acquire one abroad, not to mention costly," confided Chona. "It is our hope to be able to contribute to the community of carers and families of people with special needs."
She describes their teenage son Patrick, who has autism spectrum disorder and is non-verbal, as a "well-mannered, gentle soul".
"Patrick is a blessing to us. There is never a dull moment with him!" gushes the loving mom. " There are a lot of things he can do independently, but speaking for himself is not one of them. It is important for us to always have an ID on his person, so that he can always be identified if he gets lost or separated from us for some reason."
"Being parents to someone like Patrick, we are sensitive to needs of people with special needs. We are always on the look out for products and innovations that can help in their care."
Over the years, the well-travelled family has tried various IDs for Patrick like necklaces/dog tags and labelling the back of his shirts.
"It needs to be of good quality, durable and safe as Patrick sometimes does not tolerate certain materials. He is our inspiration for coming out with this start-up," reiterated Chona. "Being parents to someone like Patrick, we are sensitive to needs of people with special needs. We are always on the look out for products and innovations that can help in their care."
As of now, their startup offers customized medical IDs and accessories.
"But as awareness on the benefits of wearing one grows, we want to continue helping the community by bringing in other designs and options in the next months- still in the area of wearable IDs," she shares.
As a mom to a 14-year-old boy with autism spectrum disorder, Chona knows that even though he is a "kid at heart" he is still growing physically. "With that comes a lot of change. We need to be sensitive to his needs and help prepare him for life as he gets bigger," she continued.
As for new parents to kids with special needs, Chona says: "You are not alone! After the realization that our child has special needs - we needed to grieve, we needed to," shares the devoted mom, emphasizing the importance of allowing oneself the time to accept that you will never see your child do and experience certain things. "After that, we just tried our best to look for the best care, education and support for Patrick. We reached out to communities as well and shared experiences and support. We celebrate every milestone we can with Patrick."
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