Before my son was diagnosed with Autism, I rarely thought about what I would need to do to my house to make it safe. Shortly after the diagnosis came, I was outside with him taking a walk. He was right beside me, and I stopped to chat with a neighbor. I only looked away for a moment, and the next time I looked, he was halfway across the street running to our neighbor’s driveway. He wasn’t looking both ways, he wasn’t paying attention to traffic, and he was just moving toward the toy he saw in their garage. A few weeks later, I was getting ready for the day, and I left him downstairs in the living room for only a few minutes. When I returned to the main floor, I found the patio door open, all the cats were outside, and he was in the yard.
I wish these were the only two times this has happened, but it’s happened again and again. We have taken measures to lock doors, stay with him at all times, and ordering him a medic alert bracelet that indicated he has autism. About the time the wandering started becoming an issue, another mom on an Autism parent support page shared a link to a website that offered free safety boxes to parents of children on the spectrum. These boxes can be ordered free of chard through National Autism Society. They are free of charge, or you can opt to pay $10 and pay it forward to the next person that orders a box. We chose to pay the $10 donation.
The box arrived within a few weeks. It included a caregiver checklist, a family wandering emergency plan, a first responder profile form, a wandering prevention brochure, a sample IEP letter, a student profile form, emotion identification cards, and wandering quick tips for literature. It also included items to help with wandering prevention that included:
2 GE wireless door/window alarms with batteries
One Medic Alert Bracelet and shoe ID tag
5 Adhesive Stop Sign Visual Prompts for doors, window or appliances like a stove
2 Safety alert clings for the car or windows
One red safety alert wristband
One child ID kit from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
The content of the literature was fantastic, and I felt like I had a much better understanding of how to prepare and prevent his wandering. My biggest concern is always his safety as he rarely stops to consider his surroundings when he is in the middle of running. We placed the Stop Signs on the front and back doors. We spent time with him and taught him that the sign meant he was not to open the door without mommy or daddy. We placed the safety clings on our car to alert first responders that a child with autism was a passenger in the car. We updated his medic alert bracelet to include Autism. The door alarms have not yet been used because we intend to install a home security system.
Any new parent to the Autism world needs to get this box. You will learn about the dangers of wandering. There is information on how to keep your child safe, how to work with the schools, and how to correctly ID your child in the event they do elope.
To order your box click the link below and fill out the form. The box can be delivered for free, or you can opt to “pay it forward.” No matter what you choose, the choice to get this box will help you better understand the importance of keeping your child safe from elopement and wandering.
As a mother that has experienced the panic of a child wandering off in a split second, I hope this tip will provide you the knowledge you need to help keep your child safe.
Please let us know if you have ordered The Big Red Safety Box by commenting below.