Tuesday, April 17th, 2012
For parents of children with autism, safety is a real concern. Nearly half of kids with autism try to wander away from a safe area, found a study by the Interactive Autism Network and Kennedy Krieger Institute. Of those children, more than one-third aren’t able to communicate who they are, where they live, or how to reach their parents and caregivers. Tragically, last year 10 children with autism drowned after wandering away.
But there are preventive steps you can take. These tips are courtesy of Autism File, a British magazine and web site.
- First, educate your child and explain as best you can what to do if he gets lost, and teach him his name, address, and phone number, hopefully until he can recite it from memory. (I’d add that this is probably not realistic for kids younger than at least 5.)
- Alert your neighbors that your child may be prone to leaving the house or yard, and ask them to direct your child back home and/or let you know if they ever see her on her own.
- Install wind chimes on your doors and windows. This is a great idea–easy enough to do, and works well to let you know that your child may be trying to leave.
- Talk to anyone who cares for your child about this issue, and discuss it with your local police department, too. Share helpful details about your child’s personality and tendencies.
- Consider a GPS tracking device for your child so that you’re able to quickly find him if he does get lost. (One we’ve heard good things about: Amber Alert GPS, where you attach the device to your child–such as around the wrist, ankle, even as a necklace–and then track him via your smartphone or computer.)
Image: Red garden swing hanging in garden via Shutterstock.