Removal of autism. The risk of wandering increases in summer

It happens fast. The child is in the tent autism the spectrum gets out of control և disappears. An emergency called “autism escape.” While any child can wander, the children are in the tent autism spectrum faces special risks. These include the temptation of water և the risk of drowning.

Some young people on the spectrum will follow this strong attraction of water and head to a nearby pond, river or pool. Drowning was the main cause of death for missing youths.

The escape of autism can happen at any time. Summer can be especially dangerous. As the weather warms, the risk of drowning increases, says Lori McLain, co-founder of the National Autism Association.

“The risk of death is higher in May, June, July, when a child unknowingly leaves the environment, especially if there is an outdoor gathering, they immediately go into the water,” says McLain. For example, he says that children can fly during outdoor games, barbecues, gatherings and other events. Or they can wander around the beach or relax by the hotel pool.

Removal of autism

Many are unaware of this risk, including some families with young people on the autism spectrum. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is working to change this and find solutions.

About 12 years ago, “we began to notice a very disturbing trend that children with autism are disappearing, they are having serious consequences,” said John Bischoff, the center’s vice president for missing children.

The center analyzed data on the decade of accidental deaths of children with autism spectrum disorders. Drowning was the number one cause of 84% of all deaths.

In 2012, researchers reported autism’s wanderings in the journal Pediatrics. They analyzed the responses of about 1,000 families to an online survey on the topic. Parents who had children on the spectrum և Children who were not on the spectrum responded. Nearly half of the parents said that their child with autism tried to wander after the age of 4, and 26% disappeared long enough to cause anxiety.

“24% of the missing were at risk of drowning and 65% were at risk of traffic injuries,” the researchers wrote. Children on the spectrum may be affected by road signs, highways, fire trucks, or trains.

By comparison, siblings of all ages who were not on the spectrum were much less likely to wander.

Quiet place search

It’s not entirely clear why children with autism are so addicted to water, says McLain. But there are some hints.

“What we’re seeing is that these kids are going beyond the settings that are usually bothering them,” McLain said. «[Those settings are] loudly, with a lot of irritation or stress or agitation, և they go to a quiet place, usually water in a quiet area. It is quiet. It is peaceful. “

Water is not the only dangerous game. When autism escapes, “they also go to the forest, they go to abandoned cars,” he says. “So any quiet thing is usually where they will go.”

Loss of family

Beth Dilg, a mother in Maryland, lost her 7-year-old daughter Savannah Martin, who was on the autism spectrum, to drowning in 2011. Dilg lived in Oklahoma and raised her three children alone after divorcing her husband. One frosty February day, Savannah and her 2-year-old brother left their home after Dilg asked her 11-year-old son to look after her while she entered the bathroom for a few minutes.

When Dilg realized that the two young children had left, he frantically searched the property. He shouted Savannah’s name many times, but the child, who spoke a limited language, did not show up when he was called. “I feel like he knew what his name was,” says Dilg, “but it wasn’t like you were calling his name, he’s coming to you.”

Dilg ran to the pond near his property after his 11-year-old son said his two brothers and sisters were in the water. Dilg jumped into the water and grabbed his toddler, who survived after holding him in the water with his bicycle helmet. But when Dilg reached Savannah, he did not respond. Harjan helped the children out.

It can happen in any family. Even when the parent is taking precautions, the child may slip out for a moment, perhaps while the parent is asleep or taking care of personal needs, or if the child is at school or elsewhere.

“It’s unrealistic to say that you will never take your eyes off your child,” says Dilg.

He tried to protect Savannah by starting her swimming lessons, placing high locks on the doors, and trying to teach her how to stay safe.

However, children can be skilled at finding ways to escape, says Dilg. “These children with autism are so smart. “They may not be verbal, but they have this level of intelligence,” he said. “You always have to stay one step ahead of them.”

Dilg volunteered for many years at Team HOPE, a peer support group with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. She provides emotional support to parents whose children are missing or dead, including parents of young people with autism.

Training of first responders

If a child on the autism spectrum disappears, the search may be difficult because of his or her condition. For example, some children are unable to speak or respond to callers who call their name. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children offers training to law enforcement and provides search protocols for first responders.

The center was based on an examination by Lori Reyes, a Montgomery County, Maryland police officer. In 2005, Reyes set up a special unit in the department to focus on the safety of people at risk. They have conditions that include autism / intellectual և developmental disorders, as well as other forms of Alzheimer’s disease. weakness.

“We have an awareness culture here,” Reyes said. All recruits and officers in the Montgomery County are trained to communicate with people on the autism spectrum who may not respond to police orders. The police are also learning to search, including immediately checking water bodies. “We have had many times where we have found individuals in water bodies,” says Reyes.

Do not wait to call 911. When a child disappears, time is of the essence. Reyes advises not to look for families on their own. “Call 911 immediately,” he says.

Top Safety Tips to Help Prevent Autism Escape

Use these tips to help keep children on the autism spectrum protected and prevent drowning.

Secure your home. Use window և door signals to warn if a door or window opens. “Those doorbells are loud,” McLain said.

You can buy alerts online or get them for free from the National Autism Association through its Big Red Safety Box program.

You can also buy portable doorbells for travel, arrange to have doorbells at your child’s school.

McIlwain recommends securing your home with appropriate locks և using baby monitors. Placing visual cues, such as a stop sign on the door, can also prompt the child not to leave.

Use personal identification. McLain says children with autism should have an identification card, such as a hand strap with their name on it. diagnosis of autismանունը name of contact person և phone number.

He says that if the children do not wear bracelets, then the identity of the shoelaces can be. But parents should be aware that children can leave without shoes or take them off before entering the water.

Parents can also consider the pros and cons of using tracking devices, says McLain.

Identify the triggers. “What will make a child want to leave the environment?” Is it noise? That’s something they hear. ” McLain says. “There is always a reason.”

If parents can identify certain triggers, they can use calming techniques, such as providing headphones to counteract disturbing noises.

Teach safety skills, such as swimming lessons. Swimming lessons are important, says McLain. However, children with autism are often disturbed by noise and commotion. So a regular swimming lesson may not work for them.

Instead, McIlwain encourages parents to ask their local YMCA about swimming lessons for the disabled or to search for such lessons online. It is usually best to give your child a few private swimming lessons with “someone who understands autism”.

For the last child, they have to swim in full shoes, says McLain. “Many of our children go straight to the water fully clothed; they just have to be able to feel how it’s weigh, how it’s swim.”

If the child is distracted by water, discuss when to leave so the young person can wait, says McLain. “They see that they will get the time for that water. They will be able to go there. “They are going to wait and try to go on their own instead.”

Carefully follow և unite. “When there is a family gathering or an outdoor barbecue, many times we all think that there are more adults here, so there will be more views on all the children. And it always ends the other way around, does it not? ” McLain says.

Be specific about who oversees your child’s safety.

“We encourage parents to play ‘Tag, you’re it’ together. So you are basically referring to the adult who is responsible for controlling that child for a certain amount of time so that there is always control. ”

Be prepared

There are several things you can do now to help prepare your child for slipping. These tools can help you find your baby faster.

Take a photo today. Save your baby’s full length և head picture և save them electronically. If your child leaves, you can immediately send the pictures to law enforcement to help them search.

Write a 911 script. Be prepared for this document if your child wanders. It describes, among other things, interesting points that may interest your child, such as the location of nearby water bodies. By posting all this, you will be able to quickly share the information with the first responders. The Montgomery County Police Department has “Wandering 911 Scenario:», Which you can download և use.

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