When it comes to autism in my opinion the scariest and most life threatening symptom of autism is wandering. I see stories like this and it just tears me up. I can’t believe it. A sweet boy’s life lost. It’s unfathomable.
Adrian is not a wanderer for the most part although there are a couple of times he has bolted in public. Once when we were at the aquarium he got so far ahead I couldn’t see him. I was chasing him and didn’t see him and it was crowded and I had all kinds of terrifying thoughts running through my head. Not long ago at school Adrian took off running during recess. He made it all the way across a big field to the parking lot where a stranger stopped him and gave him to the teachers who were taking chase after him. One other scary incident we had was at the park. It was a birthday party for one of our children. He was playing with all the other kids and I was checking on him frequently but also talking to our guests. I looked up and didn’t see Adrian. I felt that panic that all parents know when they momentarily lose sight of their child. A bunch of us took off in different directions to look for him. He was in the bathroom that was there at the park. That was so scary.
We’ve used Who’s Shoes ID tags for a while now:
Shortly after I read the story about the tragic loss of four year old Blake Pennington the National Autism Association tweeted something that I’ve never heard of before and I was able to go and check that out and I definitely had to pass this along to everyone I can, it’s called the Big Red Safety Box
Big Red Safety Box comes with the following items according to their website:
- A caregiver checklist
- A family wandering emergency plan
- A first responder profile form
- A wandering prevention brochure
- A sample IEP letter
- 2 GE door alarms
- One who’s shoe ID
- Five (5) Laminated Adhesive Stop Sign Visual Prompts for doors and windows
And look at this website for more information on preventing wandering.
We can only do so much to keep our children safe but I think this kit is a great way to be proactive about keeping your child safe. The Big Red Safety Box is provided by a generous grant from the American Legion Child Welfare Foundation. So click here and it will take you directly to the short form you need to fill out to receive one of these safety boxes for your child.
As I was compiling information for this post this evening a student from the University of Kansas contacted me asked me to fill out a survey, here is the information about the survey:
Thank you for your time, we are a group of Masters Students at the University of Kansas trying to determine the demand for a new product that would help families who are affected by members with medical conditions such as autistic children or elderly dementia patients. The main purpose would be to track autistic children while they are indoors, for example large stores or arenas however it can be adapted to serve other purposes. Please help us further our progress on this potential product by answering the following questions.
As you can see it’s a timely request as I was just writing and thinking about wandering and wandering prevention so if you’d like to help out these students go HERE to take their quick survey. I am happy to pass along this information so people can develop products and methods to assist us in keeping our children safe so hopefully you will support that as well.
With that I can just say that if you can keep these families in your thoughts and prayers I bet they would really appreciate that.
PS I’ve been in search of a child safety expert to write a guest post for me and I haven’t received a “yes” response to that request as of yet. If you are a child safety expert and would like to contribute a guest post about autism and safety I would be grateful!