Autism & Wandering & How to Keep Your Child Safe (Proven Tips)

Autism & Wandering

Kids with autism are known for their tendency to wander off. Sometimes they just take off, leaving their parents and caregivers in a state of panic. Why do they do it? Well, there are several reasons.

Firstly, some kids with autism are escape artists. They may bolt when they feel trapped or overwhelmed, or when they’re in a situation they don’t want to be in. For example, they may run away from loud noises, bright lights, or crowded places.

Secondly, some kids with autism wander because they’re seeking sensory input. They may be drawn to certain textures, smells, or sounds, and they’ll wander off to find them. For example, they may wander off to touch a tree or smell a flower.

Lastly, some kids with autism wander because they have a hard time communicating their needs. They may wander off to get away from something unpleasant, or they may wander off to find something they want. For example, they may wander off to find a toy they like or to get a snack.

Hide and Seek

Wandering isn’t always a game of hide-and-seek. It can be a serious safety issue. Kids with autism who wander are at risk of getting lost, injured, or worse. That’s why parents and caregivers need to take steps to prevent wandering.

One way to prevent wandering is to create a safe environment. This may mean installing locks on doors and windows, fencing in the yard, or using alarms and tracking devices. It’s also important to teach kids with autism about safety and to have a plan in place in case they do wander off.

Another way to prevent wandering is to address the underlying causes. This may mean providing sensory input in a controlled environment, teaching communication skills, or addressing anxiety and other behavioral issues.


Preventing the Unplanned Adventure

kid crossing street

Children with autism have a higher tendency to wander off than those without. The potential dangers of wandering are numerous, and parents are always looking for ways to keep their children safe. Here are some tips to prevent unplanned adventures.

Safety Measures

The first line of defense is to make sure your home is secure. Use deadbolts, alarms, and locks to secure all doors and windows. You can also use visual cues like stop signs or red tape to discourage your child from going outside. But don’t go overboard, or you’ll end up with a house that looks like a prison.

It’s also essential to teach your child about safety. Teach them never to open the door for strangers and to stay in the backyard when playing outside. Make sure they understand the dangers of wandering and the importance of staying close to home.

Tech to the Rescue (Tracking Devices)

Tracking devices Like Brainwave Watch can be a lifesaver for parents of children with autism who wander. There are many different types of tracking devices available, from GPS watches to small, discreet devices that can be attached to your child’s clothing.

These devices can give parents peace of mind, knowing that they can locate their child quickly if they wander off. Some devices even have features like geofencing, which sends an alert to your phone if your child leaves a designated area.

While tracking devices can be expensive, they are a worthwhile investment for parents of children with autism who wander. They can provide an extra layer of security and peace of mind, knowing that you can always locate your child in case of an emergency.


In Case of ‘Oops, I Did It Again’

When a person with autism wanders off, it can be a scary and stressful situation for everyone involved. It’s important to have a plan in place to respond quickly and effectively. Here are some response strategies that can help:

Who Ya Gonna Call? Community Support

First things first, make sure you have a list of emergency contacts and resources. This can include local law enforcement, search and rescue teams, autism organizations, and community support groups. Keep this list handy and make sure everyone who cares for the person with autism knows where to find it.

Recovery Tips

If the person with autism does wander off, time is of the essence. Here are some tips to help with recovery:

  • Search the immediate area: Start by searching the immediate area. Look in places the person might be drawn to, such as bodies of water, playgrounds, or areas with loud noises.
  • Notify authorities: If the person is missing for more than a few minutes, call 911 or your local law enforcement agency. Be sure to provide a detailed description of the person, including what they are wearing and any identifying characteristics.
  • Use technology: Consider using technology to help locate the person. GPS tracking devices, wearable technology, and smartphone apps can all be useful tools.
  • Spread the word: Get the word out to as many people as possible. Use social media, local news outlets, and community bulletin boards to spread the word about the missing person.

Remember, prevention is key when it comes to wandering. Make sure you have a plan in place, and take steps to minimize the risk of wandering in the first place. With the right response strategies and a little bit of luck, you can help ensure a safe and happy outcome for everyone involved.


Educating Kids and Communities

When it comes to preventing wandering in children with autism, education is key. But how do you make learning about safety fun? Here are a couple of ideas:

Role-Playing Games

Role-playing games are a fun and interactive way to teach children with autism about staying put. Parents and caregivers can create scenarios where the child has to stay in a particular area or room. They can make it a game by rewarding the child for staying put for a certain amount of time. For example, they can give the child a sticker or a high-five for every 10 minutes they stay in the designated area.

Neighborhood Watch

Getting the community involved in autism safety can be a great way to prevent wandering. Parents and caregivers can talk to their neighbors and local law enforcement about autism safety and wandering prevention. They can also create a neighborhood watch program specifically for children with autism. This program can include regular check-ins with families, safety training for community members, and a system for reporting any suspicious activity.

To make it more fun, parents and caregivers can organize a neighborhood scavenger hunt where children have to find hidden objects in the community while learning about safety. They can also create a “safety passport” for children to carry around with them. The passport can have safety tips and information about the child, including their name, address, and contact information.


Tales from the Trenches – Real-Life Stories

Parents of children with autism know that going to the grocery store can be an adventure. One mom, let’s call her Jane, took her son, Jack, to the store one day and he had a meltdown in the cereal aisle. Jack was screaming and throwing boxes of cereal off the shelves. Jane tried to calm him down, but nothing worked. Suddenly, a woman walked up to them and said, “I know what you’re going through. My son has autism too.” The woman then proceeded to help Jane distract Jack by singing “The Wheels on the Bus” while Jane quickly finished her shopping.

The Backyard Odyssey

Another mom, let’s call her Sarah, had a scare when her son, Max, wandered off into the woods behind their house. Sarah was inside cooking dinner when she realized she hadn’t heard Max in a while. She went outside to check on him and he was nowhere to be found. Sarah panicked and called out his name, but there was no answer. She quickly called the police and they began a search. After an hour of searching, they found Max sitting by a stream, playing with rocks. He was completely oblivious to the panic he had caused.

Parents of children with autism know that these types of stories are not uncommon. It can be scary and stressful, but it’s important to remember that these are just tales from the trenches. As parents, we all have our war stories, but we also have our victories. It’s important to focus on the positive and remember that our children are unique and special in their way.

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