The worry of a child wandering is great enough on it's own -- but when that child has special needs the stakes are even higher. The online journal, Pediatrics, published a survey results from over 1200 families containing children with autism. It revealed that 49 percent of those children wandered off at least once after the age of four. Of that 49 percent, nearly half of the children who disappeared for a period of time, were away long enough to be labeled as “missing.”
The response to this needs to be diffusing this fear with information and knowledge so that parents are prepared and preventative. We have several resources that touch on what wandering can look like with kids that have special needs, ways to have them prepared if it ever happens to them, and several different resources that can help make sure that none of these situations turn dire. There are resources at the links below, and an inforgraphic with a rundown of information below that.
Packet on Missing Children with Special Needs
Autism Wandering and Elopement Initiative
Big Red Safety Toolkit
Why do Children with Autism Wander?
Staff of the Northwest Arkansas Community Parent Resource Center (including original content as well as curated links to various authors around the web.)
The contents of website were developed under a grant from the US Department of Education, #H328C160009. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the US Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. Project Officer, Greg Knollman.