Running Away Common With Autism
In a recently concluded study conducted by the journal Pediatrics, researchers discovered that almost half of children that suffer from autism have run away from home at least once.
Researchers stress that the children don’t run away due to confusion or anger; rather, they typically wandered off to find a place they enjoyed or to avoid potentially anxious situations.
The investigation studied the parents of 1,218 autistic children. Of those studied, 598 had tried to run off at least once. Of these 598 children, 316 were gone longer than 40 minutes.
Keeping An Eye On The Kids
Because children that suffer from autism lack the social skills to properly communicate with their parents, they are more likely to wander off without saying anything. Comparatively, of the 1,218 studied, parents reported that less than 13 percent of their non-autistic children had attempted to run away.
While the children were typically found rather quickly, parents still fear that these wanderings may be fatal. More than a quarter of the autistic children surveyed were in danger of drowning, while more than 65 percent were in danger of being harmed by oncoming traffic.
This is not to suggest that parents are not keeping a proper eye on their kids, however. Try as they might, autistic children can slip away unnoticed. With the findings of this study, parents are trying new ways to make sure their children don’t wander off. GPS-esque tracking devices have become popular among parents. If a child goes missing, the parent can activate the device, sending out both a 911 call and showing the location of the child.
Parents are also attempting to use positive reinforcement with their children to dissuade them from wandering off. While there is no sure-fire way to ensure that autistic children won’t run off, this recent study can at least prepare parents for what may come.