Tuesday, December 20, 2011

How to Manage Autism Wandering

Autism is an condition that affects over 1.5 million people in the U.S., including adults, and wandering is a behavior that is challenging for all. A generation ago, most children who were diagnosed with it were institutionalized. Thankfully, parents, schools, physicians and society in general now know most of the symptoms and behaviors of those afflicted, and can work with these individuals to ensure that they have a healthy and safe lifestyle. Without preparation for wandering, an individual can possibly leave the house and encounter dangerous circumstances. Preparing one's home, and taking measures to protect those with autism can give a sense of security to those that care for them.

Preventing Wandering

As much as you may want to be there for your child or adult that you are offering caregiving to, there will be moments when you cannot supervise every second. Bathing, sleeping, working or just turning your back for a few moments to complete a task can allow enough time for your charge to walk out the front or back door and "elope" as wandering is sometimes called. The risks are real if the individual gets too far - overexposure to heat or cold, accidents involving traffic, and unfortunately, drowning. Here are a few tips to prevent the wandering:

1. Place a STOP sign on all doors and describe what it means, and that it is there to remind them to tell you if they want to go outside.
2. Install an alert system on doors and windows to notify you if either are opened.
3. Install a double-sided deadbolt on doors and do not allow the child or adult see where you keep the key.
4. Fence your yard.

Recovering a Wanderer

Should the child or adult with autism wander, there are methods to help you recover them more quickly.

1. Place a medical bracelet with name, address, phone number and note that the individual has autism, so that a person finding them can notify you at once.

2. Have the person wear a GPS Device on their belt, wrist, or on a lanyard around their neck as a safety precaution.

3. Alert your neighbors of the person with autism's condition in case they happen to come upon them if they are out unsupervised.

4. If the autistic person does happen to wander, be prepared with a sheet that has a current photo and describes any identifying features, contact information, the individual's favorite songs, toys or hobbies, any sensory, medical or dietary issues, and the method of best communication to give to those looking.

5. Teach your child or adult with autism how to swim. Because those with autism are naturally drawn to water, to potential for them to want to seek out a pool, a lake or a stream is high. When they are prepared, they may be safer. Make sure the final swimming test is done with clothes on.

These steps may not prevent wandering, but an ID and a GPS device will help you greatly in recovering a person with autism who wanders.

At Guardian Angel is a company that has a goal to keep individuals, especially those who are aging, safe. With several products available, you can find out more at http://www.atguardianangel.com and register for a newsletter at one of the "issueswith" sister sites to be delivered online each week.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Alecia_Ormsby

1 comment:

  1. Along the lines of #4 - everyone should check out the Family Wandering Emergency Plan on the AWAARE website. Great place to have all emergency info/contact in one place.

    I work at SafetyNet which uses Radio Frequency technology instead of GPS. I encourage everyone to read up on the differences between products before you decide. Nothing obstructs RF technology (where as GPS might lose signal when in a building or dense woods). Batteries last over 30 days whereas GPS have to be taken off and charged every few days.

    If interested, please check out www.safetynetbylojack.com and check availability in your area. Until the end of April 2012 we are waiving the initial $99 enrollment fee. I want everyone to take advantage of this!

    Any questions, please call us at 877-434-6384 or email me directly at JMorrissey@safetynetbylojack.com

    Jennifer Morrissey
    Customer Care Specialist
    SafetyNet by LoJack