My son was 18 months old. He was standing next to my bed, humming, as I was folding laundry and separating the piles. Then he walked out. In the time it took me to fold a pair of jeans, the child had walked to the other end of the house, found my keys, figured out which one was the car key (!), went outside, opened the trunk, and climbed in.
When he was in First Grade, I dropped him off at school, walked halfway to his class with him, then went on my merry way after kisses and high fives like usual. It just so happened that I forgot something from the house that day. Coincidentally, I also needed gas and went left instead of right, passing the school once again. About four blocks from the school, in a direction I normally never would have traveled, was my son, walking with his backpack and singing, without a care in the world. He apparently walked right out of the building after we parted in the hallway, and the teacher assumed he was absent that day. No one knew! Imagine what could have happened if I had turned right like I always did!
Here are 7 tips if your child is prone to wandering
- Safety-proof your home. Home should be a safe haven. In addition to traditional childproofing for small children, you will have to take some extra measures for your child with Autism.
- Install door alarms. Many children with Autism are prone to wandering. Alarms offer great back up protection.
- Arm your child with a form of communication. Whether your child is verbal or non-verbal, communication is a challenge. Create a visual safety book for your child with key questions and answers he or she may be asked in an emergency situation. Practice, practice, practice!
- Get to know your neighbors. It’s a good idea to introduce yourself and your child to your neighbors. You can explain what Autism is, along with some of your child’s behaviors that would strike other people as odd. This way they will call you instead of the police, or help direct your child home if found wandering.
- Register your child with public safety. Contact your local police precinct, fire department, and hospital and register your child with their database of special needs families.
- Use social stories. Teach your child how to handle emergency situations like fire, burglary, strangers at the door, when someone is hurt, and calling 911.
- Get QR Code iD apparel for your child and subscribe to their website.
What is QR Code iD?
People who have Autism, cognitive disabilities or other special needs or health issues may be unable to state personal information such as name, phone number, address, medications taken, where Mom and Dad work, issues peculiar to that day, the hotel where the family is staying on vacation, etc.
If your child is lost or wanders, rescuers need to know who to call, and how to help.
QR Code iD creates a way to put this information in one place. This information is accessed from any computer browser, either by entering the URL manually with the computer keyboard, or by scanning a QR code printed directly on the child’s clothing, both of which will take you to the client’s non-secure homepage. This page displays all the information that a loved one wants someone to know when finding the child. This information can be updated REAL TIME!
QR Code iD commissioned Special Needs Artists to create beautiful artwork to put on shirts, buttons, key chains and other products that have QR codes on them. These talented Special Needs Artists will be discovered and contracted to contribute original artwork for our products.
Membership is only $29.00 a year for this invaluable service. I highly recommend it!
Use “spirit 15″ when you check out for 15% discount through July 4!
Do you have any stories of your child wandering that really frightened you? What did you do? Share your comments below or post them to the SOA Facebook page!
Excellent article Debi! This use of a QR code ID is brilliant and so affordable. Thank you for bringing it to the attention of parents with children on the spectrum. I will help you spread the word.
Thanks so much, Connie! I love this concept and will definitely be getting some for my son! As always, I am grateful for your support
Amber Alert GPS has been endorsed by many parents that have children with autism. One of the great features is that you can create a “virtual zone”. If your child wanders out of the area, that you set up, you & up to 10 people will be immediately notified via their cell phone & computer. A map will then pop up so that you can see exactly where they are. It then breadcrumbs their path so that you can reach them quickly and safely!! Our #1 goal is to keep children safe and offer parents more peace of mind!
Thanks for sharing such a great resource, Leslie!
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