Wandering Safety

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All children wander away from caregivers at some point in time. It can happen in the aisles of a store, at a park, or your own front yard. These instances typically result in a moment of panic for the parent or caregiver followed by relief when reunited with the child. However, many individuals with autism who wander away from caregivers do not have the self-preservation skills to get back to their parent or caregiver. For example, a child with autism may wander away and avoid contact with others or may not recognize the potential hazards of water or a busy street. Wandering also known as elopement is a “high risk” behavior meaning that the risk of injury or harm is great.

At AST we take elopement very seriously and would like to provide families with resources to keep loved ones safe. Below are several websites that have products and resources for individuals with autism who may wander.

AST has NO affiliation with the businesses or agencies listed below. However, AST clinicians highly recommend the use of a tracking device for any individual with autism who has wandered away from their parent/guardian/caregiver/school.

PROJECT LIFESAVER http://www.projectlifesaver.org/ TRACKIMO https://trackimo.com/ SAFETRACKS™ https://www.iloctech.com/

• AST Planning a Fun and Safe Summer for Kids with Autism by AST http://autismtherapies.com/blog/planning-a-fun-and-safe-summer-for-kids-withautism/

• The National Autism Society Big Red Safety Tool Kit: A Digital Guide for Caregivers. Includes helpful strategies, caregiver checklists and family emergency plan. http://nationalautismassociation.org/docs/BigRedSafetyToolkit.pdf

• Autism Speaks Wandering Resources https://www.autismspeaks.org/wandering-resources

• CDC Safety and Children with Disabilities – Wandering https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandsafety/wandering.html www.autismtherapies.com

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