When an autistic child runs away or slips away from his/her caregiver or a safe and supervised environment to a place that is not very safe or supervised, it is referred to as wandering. Wandering away is quite common among autistic children and is also quite dangerous. This can be dangerous for the child and might lead to unforeseen consequences. It is essential for preventing Wandering in Children with Autism.
Here are some details about the statistics:
· About 49% of autistic kids wander.
· One out of every four children goes missing for quite a long time, which might be a cause of concern.
· As much as one-third of the reported cases of Wandering is either fatal or require medical attention.
· As many as 1/3rd of the children who wander are unable to communicate their name, phone number, and address.
It is often seen that children may tend to wander away from an outdoor school picnic or family outing or even from their own house. Understanding what tiggers the child from leaving a secure place is sometimes the key to prevent it also. When the appropriate technique or tactics are discovered, it may take some trial and error to find the one that works. Coping strategies are discussed and taught in books and therapies. As was already noted, parents can inquire about coping mechanisms by speaking with their child's physician and therapist. Physical and occupational therapists who may already be working with autistic individuals may be able to offer advice to make coping skills more effective. They might give parents suggestions for excellent practices to use at home and approach with their kids.
Home Safety Tips to Manage Wandering
There are several reasons for which autistic children tend to wander, and to know about it in detail; you should go through the points mentioned below:
· Some children wander to get some desired objects. For example, the children might wander to bring their favourite toys from the store.
· Children with autism might also find it a little challenging to cope with everyday situations and wander to get away from any stressful situation.
· Other children wander wither because they love to run away or be chased by their caregivers.
There are many Home Safety Tips to Manage Wandering.
Preventing Wandering in Children with Autism skills
· Going for a walk
· Exercise Sensory and fidget toys
· Deep breathing
· Practicing mindfulness
How do you manage to wander by embracing the autism method?
The embracing autism method has three different steps that are mentioned as follows:
The Accommodate stage is about finding and providing specific accommodations to the Autistic child so that they feel safe and regulated. Therefore, when dealing with wandering, you should start by avoiding certain situations from which you know your child might wander. This is important firstly because it ensures that your child is safe and preserves capacity.
For example, if you know that your child wanders every time they’re at a park or grocery store, you will have to stop going to these places temporarily. Another way you can accommodate wandering is by creating a safe environment that will allow your child to meet their need to wander while staying safe. For this, you can create a safe space in the classroom or home to run to, go to a park with a fence where they can run, and also make time regularly to run and play chase.
This stage helps you embrace the autism method, which is about balancing the accommodations with natural life through boundaries, routines, and skill building. Therefore, when dealing with wandering, the first and the most important thing you must focus on is the development of boundary awareness. This will help your child understand where it is okay to run and where he should not, which will help immensely in creating safety plans. The best way to work on boundary awareness is to play miming games, red light green light, and use random objects as the boundary at the racing time.
The Change stage in the Embracing Autism Method is about effectively advocating the Autistic child and empowering them to advocate for themselves to meet their needs even when they are not there. So, when dealing with wandering, the first thing you should do is to focus on advocating some of the most effective safety plans with any other caregivers. This ensures that the safety of the child is a top priority.
There are many reasons why parents should start building coping strategies for their autistic children. Having these strategies in place will help the child to deal with potential anxiety-inducing and stressful situations. Parents and teachers can also help children to grow by leaps and bounds if they provide support with some of the best strategies. If the children can cope with different calming strategy, it will help them develop better self-regulation skills. Knowing about the Home Safety Tips to Manage Wandering will undoubtedly help. So, if you know someone who has an autistic child or you are dealing with an autistic child, make sure that you know and let others know about the safety tips.