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Image Courtesy of chrisroll at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

BY| India Burgess

Autism has been trending throughout the media as Autism Awareness Month continues. Stereotypes and misconceptions have been exposed as well as tips on how to make the proper accommodations for those with autism. Yet sadly, there have also been many reports on autistic children and teens who have gone missing. As we enter into May and the Autism Awareness push begins to fade away, it’s important to realize that we still have a major problem in need of attention. We should all take these tips to heart so that we know how to prevent these incidents from happening.

Whether or not you live with someone autistic, by using these steps, you help create a safe atmosphere that may help to save a life. Autism Speaks has put together a list of six ways to avoid wandering tragedies.

1. Secure Your Home

It’s suggested that you contact a professional locksmith, security company or home improvement expert to help you select the best way to secure all exits and promote safety in your home.

2. Consider a Tracking Device

You can check with your local law enforcement for Project Lifesavor or LoJak SafetyNet services. The devices would be worn on the wrist or ankle. A radio frequency can be used to track the person who’s wandered away.

3. Consider an ID Bracelet

Medical identification bracelets provide basic personal information such as your name, telephone number, and more. You have the option to state whether or not your child is autistic. These IDs can be worn as a bracelet or necklace. An alternative option, is investing in custom temporary tattoos which state your contact information.

4. Teach Your Child to Swim

Special needs swimming lessons can be found at several YMCA locations. Though learning to swim is a safety precaution, it does not make your child any safer around the water unsupervised. If you own a pool, fence it and take out all of the pool toys. If your neighbors have pools, instruct them on the proper measures to take as well.

5. Alert Your Neighbors

Introduce yourself to your neighbors. One brief meeting can help them understand what to do if a situation ever arises. Providing a photograph of your loved one is also suggested.

6. Alert First Responders

By having handouts with vital information and distributing it before an incident occurs, you help to make the rescue process easier. When people are forewarned, they may recognize the child before they wander too far and know who to contact.

Safety measures never seem important until the unexpected happens. You may or may not be able to prevent an autistic child from wandering off, but these preventive methods may have a tremendous impact on the outcome of the situation.

For further tips like these and more, visit: www.autismspeaks.org.

References: Resources for Parents and First Responders | | Autism Speaks. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.autismspeaks.org/wandering-resources#tips

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