Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation Partners with Pyramid Educational Consultants to Bring Fire and Burn Safety Education to Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Developmental Disabilities, Intellectual Disabilities, and Communication Challenges
October 2020- This Fire Prevention Week, the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation (AARBF) is excited to announce a new partnership with Pyramid Educational Consultants in bringing fire and burn safety education to individuals with autism spectrum disorder, developmental disabilities, intellectual disabilities, and communication challenges.
Utilizing the safety messages from AARBF’s “Firefighters in Safety Education” program, Pyramid Educational Consultants is able to create burn prevention images to add to their extremely successful Pics for PECS picture set, which can be used for communication via the Picture Exchange Communication System® (PECS®) protocol as well as within social stories and life lessons to help learners understand fire and burn safety. Our goal is to provide life-saving lessons and burn prevention education to learners with special needs, who are more vulnerable to preventable exposure to danger and are at higher risk for burn injuries.
Jacqueline Laurita, mother of Nicholas and autism advocate, was the inspiration for this collaboration.
“When the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation (AARBF) approached me about helping them brainstorm ways to teach fire safety and burn prevention to children with special needs, I instantly thought of using PECS, the Picture Exchange Communication System! Children on the autism spectrum, like my son, tend to be visual learners, mostly because of their language processing deficits, so picture cards used in various ways can be very effective in teaching them new concepts, as well as providing an essential way of communicating.
I think fire safety and prevention are critically important, often overlooked, and much needed to protect our children who don’t respond to danger or safety measures as a typical child would. We believe that burn prevention and fire safety instruction should be accessible to individuals with disabilities worldwide and should be incorporated into PECS educational programs to assist caregivers, educators, and communities in teaching these important concepts to vulnerable children and adults to keep them safe from the dangers of burn injury and death caused by fire.”
New fire and burn safety images, based on Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation’s fire and burn safety curriculum, are in development for use as part of the renowned alternative/ augmentative communication system, Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), used globally by thousands of individuals of all ages with various cognitive and communication challenges. Life-saving safety messages, including stay low and go; stop drop and roll; and know two ways out, will now be possible to more effectively teach special needs learners throughout the world thanks to this partnership between AARBF and Pyramid Educational Consultants.
“With fires burning throughout California year-round and with unintentional injuries, including burn injuries, being the number one cause of death for individuals ages 1-44, fire and burn safety education is needed more than ever,” said Jennifer Radics-Johnson, Executive Director for the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation. “We are proud to announce our partnership with Pyramid Educational Consultants this Fire Prevention Week and look forward to reaching even more learners with our life-saving messages.”
Andy Bondy, president and co-founder of Pyramid Educational Consultants, and Lori Frost, vice-president and co-founder of Pyramid Educational Consultants, added:
“We are proud to partner with the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation to develop a Pics for PECS® picture set for functional communication training focused on fire safety and burn prevention. Our hope is that the use of our images paired with AARBF’s fire and burn safety curriculum will help make their life-saving messages accessible to a wider population including those with developmental disabilities, autism, and/or communication challenges.”
About the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation
The Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation (AARBF) is a California-based nonprofit organization dedicated to significantly reducing the number of burn injuries through prevention education and enhancing the quality of life of those affected by a burn injury. AARBF brings together health care providers, firefighters, emergency workers, burn care professionals, burn survivors, and our community to enhance the quality of life for burn survivors and to make burn injuries a thing of the past. www.aarbf.org.
About Pyramid Educational Consultants
Pyramid Educational Consultants was founded in 1992 by Andy Bondy, PhD, and Lori Frost, MS, CCC-SLP, developers of the Picture Exchange Communication System® (PECS®) and the Pyramid Approach to Education®. The company’s goal is to provide the highest quality of training, consultation and support to parents, caregivers and professionals in the field of autism and developmental disabilities. Using functional, practical and evidence-based interventions, our aim is to teach individuals how to effectively communicate, function independently and be productive in their schools, home, place of employment and community. https://pecsusa.com.