You look away for a minute and when you turn back, your child is gone. This can be terrifying for any parent, but for some parents with children with autism, it is a constant fear. Some children with autism have a tendency to wander, also known as bolting or eloping. This can happen anywhere, at any time, and be potentially dangerous. Taking steps to prevent wandering can help keep children with autism safer.
Install door and window locks: You may have to try more than one type depending on your child. Some parents find that placing them higher up on the door out of sight and out of reach helps. Others prefer key locks so children can’t unlock them as easily. Putting an alarm on doors and windows can help as well to notify you when they have been opened.
Stop signs and stories: Placing stop signs on doors can help as well. This can remind children not to go out without permission or an adult. Social stories that talk about waiting for an adult or buddy, staying close, or always keeping a hand on the cart or another object may be helpful.
Talk to neighbors: Let your neighbors know that your child has autism and wanders. Give them your phone number and tell them to alert you if they ever see your child out by themselves. You can also educate them about interacting with your child and understanding autism.
Use ID tags or GPS devices: Have a way to track your child or ensure they can be identified so you can be contacted if they do wander. Small GPS devices can be attached to their clothing without being too distracting, and there are tags you can put in clothing, on shoes, or on other objects. This can help you keep tabs on where they are.
Programs such as ABA therapy may be beneficial as well. It can address a wide range of issues and areas of need. PediaPlex offers ABA Therapy as well as other services for children with autism to help them stay safe, become more independent, and maximize their potential.
Leave a comment and let us know how you prevent wandering! Contact PediaPlex today regarding treatment for autism.