Late Friday evening, a young boy with autism was struck and killed by a car. According to a report by ABC7 News, the young boy had run away from home – hours later there were multiple 911 calls stating that a young boy had been “hit by a vehicle in the area of Jamboree Road and Portola Parkway,” in Tustin, California. The young boy was rushed to the hospital, but unfortunately succumbed to his injuries shortly after arriving at Children’s Hospital of Orange County. The investigation in this case is ongoing.
Wandering and running away are very common in children and adults on the autism spectrum. With tragedies such as this and others like it, there are some steps parents and caretakers can make to prevent such tragedies.
Steps to Prevent Wandering and Wandering Related Tragedies – as outlined by Autism Speaks
- Secure your home
- Some parents and caretakers have found it useful to install secure deadbolts or inexpensive alarm systems on the front and back doors
- Tracking devices can be worn as a bracelet on the wrist or around the ankle. Some GPS tracking devices can also be placed on a belt
- Alert your neighbors
- make sure your neighbors are aware that your child wanders and if they see your child wandering without you or a caretaker, to please keep a lookout for them
- Teach your child to swim
- many children and adults with autism wander to bodies of water – because water is calming – knowing how to swim can help prevent any drowning incidents
- Carefully document all wandering incidents
- this is so you know when your child is prone to wandering. If it is specific to a time of day, year, a noise that may be unfamiliar or bothersome
These are just a few tips to help prevent wandering and wandering related tragedies. No one case of autism related wandering are the same. Because each child and adult on the spectrum are incredibly unique.
If your child has wandered off, make sure that you get in touch with your local authorities.
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