Sunday, January 26, 2014

12 Ways To Prevent, and Respond To, ASD Wandering

I found this on the National Autism Association website.  It has some good tips that I wanted to pass along.

  1. Understand wandering patterns and eliminate the triggers
    • Ask yourself what type of wandering best describes your child/adult (goal-directed, non goal-directed, random, sudden runner, etc.) 
    • Acknowledge what triggers may make your child/adult wander off or leave quickly.
  2.  Teach your child about wandering dangers
    • If the child/adult has functional language, use this as a way to teach them about the dangers of wandering into traffic and water especially, as well as encounters with strangers. Use various methods to teach them how to respond if they find themselves alone or lost outside, in a non-home setting (school, classroom, hotel, etc.) or any other setting.  
    • Use the types of language/lingo they like and to which they would respond. Use favorite characters, topics, props and visual prompts in your explanation if necessary.
  3.  Secure your home
    • Installing secure dead bolt locks that require keys on both sides. 
    • Installing a home security alarm system
    • Placing hook and eye locks on all doors, above your child’s reach.  
  4. Consider a tracking device
    • Check with local law enforcement for Project Lifesaver or LoJack SafetyNet services. These tracking devices are worn on the wrist or ankle and locate the individual through radio frequency. Various GPS tracking systems are also available from multiple retail outlets.  
  5. Consider an ID bracelet
    • Medical ID bracelets will include your name, telephone number and other important information. They may also state that your child has autism and is non-verbal if applicable. If your child will not wear a bracelet or necklace, consider a temporary tattoo with your contact information.
  6.  Swimming Lessons
    • Swimming lessons for children with special needs are available at many YMCA locations. 
  7. Alert your neighbors
    • It is recommended that caregivers plan a brief visit with neighbors to introduce their loved one or provide a photograph. Knowing your neighbors can help reduce the risks associated with wandering.  
  8. Alert first responders
    • Providing first responders with key information before an incident occurs may improve response. Informational handouts should include all pertinent information, and be copied and carried with caregivers at all times. Circulate the handout to family, neighbors, friends and co-workers, as well as first responders.
  9. Initiate "Tag your are it" strategy
    • A well-coordinated system that TAGS the adult who is to closely supervise the individual. Explain the tag system to those who may be responsible for watching your child/adult and make sure they understand the expectations and their responsibilities.
  10. Secure external settings
    • Parents may be surprised to learn that their child/adult has wandered from certain settings, such as school, camp, and work programs. It is not required that responsible parties inform you of any minor or major wandering incidents. Be sure to find out on the first encounter with new schools, camps, etc. what protocols are in place to prevent and address wandering incidents and other emergencies. 
  11.  Learn from others
    • Researching and reviewing actual incidents that have occurred within our community can be tough to do. The stories are often heart-wrenching to read, and many of us simply cannot bring ourselves to read them. But learning from other situations can help us protect our children and adults by strengthening our understanding of what possible incidents can occur to us on an individual level.
  12. Never have a false sense of security
    • As your loved one grows and develops, his changing abilities will affect his methods of accessing routes for wandering. Be sure you monitor changes in gross motor skills, height, age, and overall development. 
See the whole story at AutismSafety.com

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