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Questions to Ask if an Individual with Autism is Missing

Tips & Tools

Overview

A resource when dealing with a situation involving a missing individual. These questions are listed below as well as being available to download under the general information section. The resource is available for download as a trifold wallet card for emergency responders and justice professionals, or printout for parents to share with first responders. Content is available in multiple languages.

If an individual with autism wanders and is missing, it’s important to call the police immediately. Give the police as much information as possible so the individual with autism can be found quickly and safely.

Here are some suggestions you can share with first responders that might help when a person with autism has wandered.

  • Is the individual verbal?
  • Does the individual use a communication device?
  • Does the individual respond when their name is called?
  • Does the individual recognize dangerous situations?
  • Will search dogs scare the individual?
  • Is the individual bothered by loud noises? (sirens, megaphone, helicopter, etc.)
  • Does the individual have any sensory issues? (bothered by loud noises, bright lights, etc.)
  • Is there a history of bullying and where has the individual gone in the past when they have been bullied?
  • Do the neighbors know the individual and have you checked with them already?
  • How does the individual travel? (walk, bike, car, subway, etc.)
  • Do they have a cell phone or know how to use one?
  • Does the individual have any type of autism identifier? (ID bracelet or card)
  • Did you ever go over an emergency plan with them and what is it?
  • What is the best way to talk with the individual when we find them?
  • Is the individual employed? Have they been employed in the past? Where were they employed?
  • Are you aware of any video cameras nearby or in the neighborhood that may have captured images of the individual?
  • Do you know of any pools or other large bodies of water within the neighborhood?
  • Is there a friend/family member within the community that the individual spends time with?
  • Is there a place (park, restaurants, shopping center) the individual likes to visit?
  • Does the individual have a special interest? (Trains, Pokemon Cards…leads to where they might go…train station, Target for new cards, etc.)
  • Is there a place the individual likes to hide?

Si una persona con autismo está deambulando sin rumbo conocido, es importante llamar inmediatamente a la policía. Proporcione a la policía la mayor cantidad de información posible para que la persona con autismo pueda ser encontrada con prontitud y de forma segura.

Estos son algunos datos que puede compartir con los servicios de emergencia y que podrían ser útiles cuando una persona autista está deambulando sin rumbo conocido.

  • ¿Los vecinos conocen a la persona y ya fueron contactados?
  • ¿La persona responde cuando la llaman por su nombre?
  • ¿La persona puede comunicarse verbalmente?
  • ¿Cuál es la mejor manera para comunicarse con la persona (verbalmente, sistema PECS, iPad, lenguaje de señas u otros dispositivos de comunicación)?
  • ¿La persona reconoce situaciones peligrosas?
  • ¿Le tiene miedo a los perros?
  • ¿Tiene alguna sensibilidad sensorial (ruidos fuertes, luces brillantes, olores, etc.)?
  • ¿En qué lugares le gusta esconderse o se siente segura?
  • ¿Tiene antecedentes de haber sufrido bullying y adónde fue cuando sufrió bullying en el pasado?
  • ¿Qué medio de transporte usa para ir de un lugar a otro (camina, se moviliza en bicicleta, automóvil, autobús, metro, etc.)
  • ¿Lleva algún tipo de identificación donde diga que tiene autismo (pulsera, tarjeta, etc.)?
  • ¿La familia tiene establecido un plan de emergencia y la persona conoce ese plan?
  • ¿La persona tiene o ha tenido un empleo en el pasado? ¿Dónde?
  • ¿Hay cámaras de video instaladas en el vecindario o en los alrededores?
  • ¿Dónde se encuentran las piscinas o grandes masas de agua cercanas?
  • ¿Algún amigo o familiar con la que la persona le guste pasar tiempo vive cerca?
  • ¿Hay algún lugar (parque, restaurantes, centro comercial, etc.) que a la persona le guste visitar?
  • ¿La persona tiene algún interés en particular (trenes, tarjetas Pokemón, etc.) que pueda servir de pista para saber adónde podría haber ido (estación de trenes, una tienda Target para conseguir tarjetas nuevas, etc.)?

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Other downloads

Name Description Type File
Autism and Wandering Trifold wallet card for justice professionals and first responders. pdf Download file: Autism and Wandering
Autism and Wandering Resource for parents (English) pdf Download file: Autism and Wandering
Autism and Wandering Resource for parents (Spanish) pdf Download file: Autism and Wandering

This information was developed by the Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative (ASERT). For more information, please contact ASERT at 877-231-4244 or info@PAautism.org. ASERT is funded by the Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations, PA Department of Human Services.