ID card for your Disabled Child

Does your child (with or without disabilities) have a photo ID card? Why not? Have you ever thought of getting one for them? Having a photo ID card for your child can be a great resource and can help you avoid hassles. It also can be a great teaching and training tool.

This discussion came up in our Facebook group lately. I had no idea that some many parents had or wanted photo IDs for their kids. Mind you, we get one every year from his school and I’ve always thought it is a good idea. I just didn’t know that they were a hot item.

Here are some of the reasons that group members said they want a photo ID for their child with special needs.

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Why your disabled child should have an ID Card.

  1. Practice carrying it around now since it will take a while to acquire the skill.
  2. May be required to access transition or adult programs
  3. Executive Functioning skill–managing an important document and not losing it.
  4. To prove age if you are ever questioned.
  5. Provide ID (keep on person or in backpack) in event of emergency.
  6. Keep on them or in backpack if they are non-verbal.
  7. In case they get lost or wander.
  8. If they are asked to provide address and cannot remember it.
  9. For airline trips.
  10. Voting, in case it ever becomes necessary to provide ID to vote. (still in the courts)
  11. As an actual legal ID if they are not going to be driving.

Ok, great. So now you have read some of those and thought, “Yes! Great idea! Now, where do I find one?”

There are actually many options. Depending on what you are going to use it for will determine how official you need it to be. Some of these are very informal and obviously would not be an option if you needed a legal ID.

Where to get a child ID card

  1. Your state DMV offices-though I have heard they will not do this until age 10.
  2. New York Life has a child ID program.
  3. Some schools provide them as part of the school picture package, ask.
  4. Local or state police barracks.
  5. Any printing place, like where you would order business cards will print these up for you but they will be less official.
  6. Ask at your local Masons group, many offer this.
  7. National Football Coaches association runs a program (run with FBI).
  8. McGruff the Crime Dog is still alive, well and offering a child ID program.
  9. The FBI offers an app to keep track of this information, but child will not get an ID card to carry.
  10. You can also get an Autism ID card if that is applicable or try

Of course, you can always ask around at your county mental health, autism or intellectual disability sector. They should be able to direct you if you need specific IDs for your child. Some states offer an autism notice on your driver’s license. That is a great idea! Hopefully that will help explain situations and avoid unnecessary violence if someone doesn’t act/react a particular way.

Update: After some research prompted by reader questions, I looked into PA, and it appears that the bill died in committee. It appears that right now, an autism designation is not available on PA licenses.

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