ASERT does not offer crisis services through our Resource Center. If you or someone you love is experiencing mental health distress or thoughts of suicide please call or text 988 for support.
This specific resource is a brochure with suggestions for keeping someone with autism who wanders safe. Topics include definitions, how to secure your home, suggestions to prevent wandering, and how to alert people who can help.
There are various reasons someone with ASD may wander. Many times it is to get to something (water, park, train tracks, etc.) or to get away from something (noise, bright lights, commotion, etc.). Someone with ASD is likely aware when attention has shifted away from them and may take the opportunity to slip out quickly in order to reach a desired area or item of interest.
Family gatherings or other events may give a false impression of “all eyes on” someone with ASD. However, heavy distractions can
present opportunities to leave unnoticed. Visiting relatives or episodes of distress also may increase the risk for wandering.
Consider contacting a professional locksmith, security company or home improvement professional to promote safety and prevention in your home. You may find it is necessary to prevent your loved one from slipping away unnoticed by:
CONSIDER A PERSONAL LOCATING DEVICE
Check with local law enforcement for Project Lifesaver or LoJack SafetyNet services. These personal locating devices are worn on the wrist or ankle and locate the individual through radio frequency. Various GPS locating systems are also available.
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.
Swimming lessons for children with special needs are available at many YMCA locations. The final lesson should be with clothes on.
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.
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.
This resource created by National Autism Association