Posted in Autism, Autism Safety and Wandering, Down syndrome

Blog #142~Elopement and Autism

Blog #142~Elopement and Autism

Have you ever lost your child?  It’s the worst feeling ever.  April is Autism Awareness Month, it is essential to put supports in place to prevent your child from wandering off.

autism elopement

My son Nick is 22 years old and has Down syndrome and autism.  There have been a few times where he has taken off.  Since then, I have put supports in place and done some research on more precautions to take.  I found an excellent website called AWAARE which stands for Autism Wandering Awareness Alerts Response Educationwww.awaare.org.  This site has a comprehensive list of tips, materials and tools.  Take action now to protect your child…….

Secure your home

Install secure deadbolts, home security systems, install inexpensive battery operated alarms on door and window to alert when opened. Place hook and eye locks on all doors above your child’s reach.  Fence in the yard and put visuals like stop signs to doors.

photo (115)

Consider an ID Bracelet

Medic Alert, www.medicalert.org  is what Nick wears and it stays on him firm.  Another popular bracelet is called Project Lifesaver, http://www.projectlifesaver.org

photo (116)

Teach your child to swim

A large percentage of the headlines for wandering and autism end tragically because of drowning deaths.  Check your local YMCA or special recreation association for swim lessons.

autism missing pic

 

Alert your neighbors

Make a simple handout with your name, address, phone number, information about your child (autism, non-verbal etc….) and include a photograph of your child.   Ask them to call you immediately if they see your child outside of your home.

Alert First Responders

Provide the local police and fire stations with key information before an incident occurs.  See the AWAARE website given above for printable handouts.  There is also a free Big Red Safety Toolkit with free downloads on wandering and prevention.

Consider A Monitoring App

*iPhone Baby Monitor App

*Kids ID App

*KidStatz App

kids id phone app

Consider a GPS Locater Tracking Device:

Project Lifesaver (https://www.projectlivesaver.ort)

Lo Jack Safety Net (https://www.safetynetbylojack.com)

These locaters range from $125.00-$250.00; monthly monitoring fees vary:

*Angel Sense GPS Device (https://www.angelsense.com)

*Amber Alert GPS (https://www.amberalertgps.com)

*Trax Personal GPS Tracker (https://www.traxfamily.com)

Being prepared and proactive is vital for a child who is an eloper and may bolt at anytime.  It will also help you as a parent to feel more confident in the safety of your child.  That’s what is in my noggin this week!

~Teresa

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Posted in Autism, Autism Safety and Wandering

Blog #62~Wandering and Autism, Part II

Blog #62~Wandering and Autism, Part II

One of the worst nightmares any parent can experience is a missing child. It’s awful to imagine that it can happen.  Being prepared is important in case the nightmare ever becomes a reality.

A few weeks ago in Blog #60~Wandering and Autism @https://nickspecialneeds.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/blog-60wandering-and-autism/   I wrote about a personal experience we had when Nick took off and provided some safety tips and links.  This week I want to expand on this topic and provide more resources that I have found.

I placed a call to our local police department here in Aurora, IL to see what systems they had in place for dealing with a lost child who has special needs.  The detective assured me that all missing child cases are handled as high priority.  Canine units are also utilized in searches as well.  I found it interesting that all intersections are equipped with cameras that are monitored 24/7.  Since this phone call I have provided the police department with the vital information about my son Nick, who has Down syndrome and autism.

Information to provide to local police department:

Child’s name

Home address with names of family members and phone numbers

Child’s diagnosis/ is the child verbal or non-verbal?

Physical features (height, weight, etc…)

Behavior concerns (no fear of danger, possibility of a meltdown, how to approach child)

Current school

Our address is now flagged in the department’s data base with this information.  Check with your local police department to see what system they have in place.  Some departments such as nearby Naperville and Plainfield, IL both offer the GPS bracelets (through the police departments) for special needs kids and the elderly with a tendency to wander.  The bracelet costs about $150.  Radio monitoring kicks in upon calling 911.  There is no cost and the police are in charge of this. If there is a financial hardship, check to see if the department will waive the cost of the bracelet. The device is called Care-Trak  (www.caretrak.com).

caretrak bracelet

Here is another site with some great safety devices and information:

http://www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/resource-library/safety-products

In addition, there are phone apps that are available for monitoring and providing information to the authorities about your child.  Here are a few that I found:

iPhone Baby Monitor ($4.99) acts much like a baby monitor does to watch your child while they are sleeping.

Kids ID ($3.99) Takes recent pictures of your kids so they are readily available, plus you can input their size, medical history, and other important data that would help law enforcement find your child as soon as possible. The app allows you to send all of your child’s information directly to law-enforcement agencies.

kids id phone app

KidStatz ($0.99) provides you with the opportunity to store information about your kids in the iPhone that can later be shared with law enforcement if they go missing. As with Kids ID, the app lets you to take a picture of your kids, input important identifying information, what kind of medical conditions they have, and any birth marks or other identifying information that might help law enforcement find your children. The app also provides a way to e-mail or call law enforcement to quickly react to your missing child.

Pictures and videos of your child in a natural setting (not forced smiles) are advisable to have available for officers as well.  If your child is drawn to anything (railroad, water, small spaces, etc..) be sure to include that information to the police department.

The following advanced GPS locaters range from $125-$250 and the monthly monitoring fees vary:

Angel Sense GPS tracking device (www.angelsense.com)

Amber Alert GPS tracking device (www.amberalertgps.com)

Trax GPS tracking device (www.traxfamily.com)

Being prepared and proactive is vital if you have a child who wanders or likes to bolt.  I hope these tips and links will help insure the safety of all children and especially those who have autism and other special needs.  That’s what is in my noggin this week!

~Teresa