Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Day 4- Wandering

Wandering/Elopement is a common occurrence in the Autism and Special Needs community. A 2007 online pool through the National Autism Association, indicated 92% of parents reported that their child/ren with autism have a tendency to wander, but no formal estimates are available.

I honestly can not explain what wandering is any better than The Autism Wandering Awareness Alerts Response and Education (AWAARE) site. So I will direct you to them to find out more about it. I will link you to their FAQ page and encourage you to tinker around their page further :)

So what can you do if you have a child that wanders? Heck, I suggest this for any child that cannot communicate their name or phone number in the even they get lost and cannot find their way back home or to an adult they know. First step, a difficult to remove ID bracelet. Simple, low tech. Alert, Disability on the outside, Name and phone number on the inside. If your child has acute medical needs obviously you can expand on this. 

Some good sites for bracelets....

N-Style ID
Call them, they might give you a discount code ;)

American Medical

They are running a special right now for Autism Awareness Month
Enroll your child in MedicAlert Kid Smart* membership for $29.95 and receive your child's basic** ID plus a sports band ID. 
Annual renewal is $20/year

For a child that likes to strip their clothes or frequently remove their bracelet/anklet consider temporary tattoos! This is a link I found but I believe there are companies where you can customize your information. Be careful with these however. You don't want the information to be displayed in a way that a stranger could  learn the child's name and lure them away from you. Be safe, use common sense.

Tracking Devices

Here is info on Project Lifesaver and LoJack SafteyNet

Project Lifesaver

SafetyNet by Lojack

For those that do NOT live in a coverage area...this device may or may not be helpful. 
No, it isn't waterproof, it's kind of like a cellphone, but not as fragile. If you have a computer or smartphone, or even if you don't it's kind of like OnStar but for your kid. As long as it is in an area with a GPS signal they can find your child. They or you can even speak to your child to try and keep them calm. Your child can speak back. It is under $100 and there is only a small monthly service fee.

And finally if you've made it this far and you don't have a child that wanders, thank you for reading up on the subject. I'd also like to point out something else. If you've never had a child that wanders you will never know the shear terror that strikes your heart in the moment you realize your child is gone. Therefore if you see a child out in public wearing a "leash" you cannot assume it is due to lazy parenting. It may just be that parent's way of assuring their child doesn't end up on the 10 o'clock news. Could it be a parent that just doesn't want to watch her kid? Sure, but it could also be a parent that has had one too many heart attacks that day and just wants to keep her child safe. Let's try less judgement, more understanding. The world will be a better place if we all just try that more often.


  1. We had this happen only once with our boy. We were quickly able to mobilize the neighbourhood to help us locate him. H was about 4 - and it was terrifying!

    This will be very helpful information for many people!


  2. I just want you to know I'm loving all the info! This is great information for everyone