QUINCY, MASS – A new, interactive fire safety book has been designed to help children with autism spectrum disorder respond appropriately to the sound of a smoke alarm.

"I Know My Fire Safety Plan," produced by The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), can also be helpful to children with other developmental disabilities, according to Lisa Braxton of the NFPA public education project.

"Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability. It is important that we reach children on the autism spectrum and encourage parents and caregivers to use this new NFPA educational tool to help children understand what they should do to escape safely when they hear the smoke alarm sound," Braxton said.

The book uses easy-to-follow steps in a story format, acknowledging the apprehension children with autism may feel at the sound of a smoke alarm or presence of fire trucks and firefighters.

Parents are advised to practice their fire safety plan with their children, and then read the story with them.

Participants are encouraged to use the interactive story to its full capacity by typing in their name, age, physical features, and the location of their outdoor meeting place. Children can also take part in the story by clicking on the corner of each page to turn it and they may start and stop at will.

The interactive story has been reviewed, at all stages of development, by the NFPA public education division's Parents and Teachers of Children with Disabilities Advisory Group, Braxton said.

It has also been reviewed by a psychologist from a school that serves children and adults with autism and by a respected author of manuals on crafting social stories.