Autism wandering is a dangerous and often deadly behavior exhibited by some people with autism. It is characterized by a person walking or running away from a safe place, like their home or school, without any apparent destination in mind.
While the exact cause of autism wandering is unknown, it is believed to be linked to a combination of factors, including sensory processing issues, difficulty with communication, and an inability to understand danger. Whatever the cause, it’s important to be aware of the risks associated with this behavior and take steps to prevent it.
One of the most heartbreaking aspects of autism wandering is that it often leads to tragedy. In the United States alone, there have been dozens of reported deaths in recent years as a result of people with autism wandering into dangerous situations.
There are several things you can do to help prevent your loved one from wandering off:
• Keep a close eye on them at all times, especially in public places.
• Make sure their ID includes their name, address, and contact information in case they do wander off.
• Teach them safety rules about crossing streets and staying away from strangers.
• If they are prone to running away, consider using a GPS tracker or other similar device so you can find them quickly if they do wander off.
No one wants to think about their child getting lost or hurt, but sadly, it’s a very real possibility for families dealing with autism wandering. By taking some simple precautions and being aware of the risks, you can help keep your loved one safe.
There are a few basic safety rules that parents of children with autism should follow in order to keep their loved ones safe. First and foremost, it is important to create a safe and secure environment at home, which may include childproofing the home and using locks and alarms as necessary. It is also important to teach your child about Stranger Danger and make sure they know how to stay safe when they are out in public.
Finally, it is crucial to have a plan in place in case your child wanders off or becomes lost; make sure you have a recent photo of your child, and know where to contact local law enforcement. By following these simple safety tips, you can help keep your autistic child safe and sound.
Teach your autistic child or friend to stop at the curb and look both ways before crossing the street. If they don’t understand the concept of “looking both ways,” demonstrate it for them. You may need to do this several times before they get the hang of it.
Encourage them to use the crosswalk whenever possible. If there is not a crosswalk available, teach them to find a safe place to cross the street, such as an intersection with stop signs or traffic lights.
If you’re out walking with them, hold their hand while crossing the street. This will help you keep them close and also provide a physical reminder for them to stop at the curb and look both ways before proceeding.
Be patient with your loved one and praise them when they display safe behavior around streets and crossing them. It may take some time and practice, but eventually they will get it!
Most children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are very trusting of strangers, which can put them at risk for abduction and other forms of abuse. It’s important to teach your child with ASD about stranger danger and how to stay safe.
Stranger danger tips:
- Talk to your child about strangers. Explain that there are good strangers and bad strangers. Good strangers are people like firefighters or police officers who help us. Bad strangers are people who might hurt us.
- Teach your child what to do if a stranger approaches them. They should scream “No!” and run away as fast as they can.
- Practice “stranger danger” scenarios with your child so they know what to do in an emergency.
- Make sure your child knows their personal information, such as their name, address, and phone number in case they need to call for help.
- Keep a close eye on your child when you’re in public places such as the park or the mall. Don’t let them out of your sight, even for a minute.
Autistic children and police
The best way to help a child with autism feel comfortable around the police is to familiarize them with law enforcement personnel and their vehicles ahead of time. This can be done by visiting a local police station or by inviting a police officer to come to your child’s school or therapy center.
When meeting the police for the first time, it is important to explain who they are and what their job is. The officer should also take time to answer any questions that your child may have. It is also a good idea to let your child know that they can always come to you if they have any concerns about the police.
If you live in an area where there is a lot of crime, it is especially important to help your child feel comfortable around the police. You want them to know that if they ever see something happening that they should not be afraid to tell a policeman about it.