Does Your Child Wander?
Wandering is an everyday concern for many parents of autistic children, often causing additional stress. According to a study published in the journal of Pediatrics, 49% of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) will elope or wander from a safe place. Fifty percent of these wandering children will end up in a life threatening situation.
If your child wanders, do not blame yourself, it is not your fault. Additionally, the study revealed that wandering does not stem from inattentive parenting or lack of supervision and is seen more in children with severe autism. Oftentimes, the child may wander from home, school, or stores and head toward a place of interest or to escape sights, sounds and activities of others.
What you can do?
There is no sure fire way to prevent your child from wandering; however, there are a few things that can help deal with the issue.
If your child is prone to wandering, try a few of these items below:
Prepare yourself and those who are close to your child (friends, family, neighbors, and teachers).
- Inform those closest to your child of their tendency to wander
- Keep a current picture of your child
- Pay close attention to what they are wearing each day
- Know your child’s special interests and things they like that may cause them to wander
- Autistic children may not have an awareness of danger. Therefore, it is important to teach them how to stay safe. Practice things like, crossing the street and introduce them to ‘safe’ people (police officers, firefighters, etc.)
- Be aware of nearby bodies of water. Autistic children are highly attracted to water. Between 2009 and 2011, accidental drowning accounted for 91 percent of total deaths reported in children with autism, ages 14 and younger, who went missing.
We hope you find this information helpful and if we have seen these methods help and keep our kids safe. God bless and if we can help please call 855-HOPE360