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Ideas to Help Autistic Kids Who Wander- For Caregivers August 4, 2015

Posted by Chris Mark in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , ,

LocatorI read this morning about another beautiful little boy who had drowned after wandering (called Elopement in the Autism community) away from his grandparents house and drowning. As the parent of an awesome little Autistic boy I am heartbroken for the family and realize just how easily this can happen to families.  My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of little Sidney Heidrick.

Below are some quick stats on Autistic kids and elopement.

  • Roughly half, or 48%, of children with an ASD attempt to elope from a safe environment, a rate nearly four times higher than their unaffected siblings
  • In 2009, 2010, and 2011, accidental drowning accounted for 91% total U.S. deaths reported in children with an ASD ages 14 and younger subsequent to wandering/elopement.
  • More than one third of ASD children who wander/elope are never or rarely able to communicate their name, address, or phone number
  • Two in three parents of elopers reported their missing children had a “close call” with a traffic injury
    32% of parents reported a “close call” with a possible drowning
  • Wandering was ranked among the most stressful ASD behaviors by 58% of parents of elopers
    62% of families of children who elope were prevented from attending/enjoying activities outside the home due to fear of wandering
  • 40% of parents had suffered sleep disruption due to fear of elopement

While not the answer to every situation, Heather and I have explored a number of technologies.  If you are the care taker of an Autistic child, These may help..(We are not in any way associated with the products.  I don’t want anyone to think I am promoting these for any other reason than to help save lives..)

  • AngelSense GPS Tracker for kids.  We own one.  It is very valuable.  It has a ton of functionality and will alert you via email when the child leaves a certain area (that you define).  Absolutely worth looking at…
  • PetLoc8Tor  Not a GPS but works like the old school James Bond type locators.  It beeps and shows lights as you get closer.  Designed for pets but the actual ‘beacon’ is tiny and can be attached to a belt loop, pocket etc.  $99 and very effective out to 400 yards and works indoors.  I have tested in a large supermarket and it works well!  Just another tool that we use.

It breaks my heart to see these little guys and girls wander and get hurt.  Please pass this on if you think it could be of any value to a family with an Autistic child.

Children with ASD are eight times more likely to elope between the ages of 7 and 10 than their typically-developing siblings


1. dtk3253 - August 4, 2015

Excellent article as always. I have a 16 yr old who thankfully does not elope or get too far away.
In addition to the tools you mentioned, meeting with your local police, sheriff and EMS is a good extra step. Dylan and I have met with all local services and took it an extra step and actually work with the Sac Sheriff Acadamy cadets to put a face to autism and help them better understand the disorder. I also work and helping them ID autism vs a druggy and how to redirect and avoid confrontation during a meltdown. I figure if we all do our best, we might just make a difference.
Keep writing and best of luck to you and your family. Semper Fi! Dale Keller

2. dremel device - August 17, 2015

You have brought up a very wonderful details , thanks for the post.

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