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Safety Concerns in Children and Adults with Autism

Introduction

Safety is an ongoing concern for children and adults with Autism.  Most people with autism have a difficult time communicating, understanding and identifying dangerous situations.  Common behaviors like wandering from his or her home or other settings also increases their risk of encountering dangerous situations.  (Note: Elopement is another term used to describe autism wandering.)  Safety also includes situations where a child explores dangerous places at home like gas stove knobs, unbuckling seat belts, or encountering a neighbor’s swimming pool.  Communities are trying to build resources to help families and community members, like first responders, to connect and share important information that may help save a life.  In addition, GPS tracking and locating devices are now available for parents to prevent losing their children.

Related Sites

AAoM’s Autism Safety FACTS
Description:  The Autism Alliance of Michigan website provides information on how the law enforcement trains and speaks to different populations on how to handle safety situations with children with Autism. They also provide downloadable materials to fill out yourself.

AWAARE Collaboration
Description:  This site is dedicated to helping and providing information specifically about Autism safety. It gives background to the dangers of wondering and information and tools for First Responders, doctors, school administrators.

National Autism Association
Description:  This site provides safety information on wandering, restraint/seclusion, and bullying. It also provides information and safety forms that can be download.

Autism Society
Description:  Autism Society provides information about a variety of topics for many stages throughout your child’s life. It gives multiple resources to use, tips and tricks, and what they have done to help.

Books

Show Me a Sign: An Interactive Reading Book about Safety Signs by Greenhouse Publications
Description:  Written by a Special Education teacher of 16 years, this book is designed for children to be able to learn common safety signs in the home as well as the community. Once the child has mastered sign identification, they are encouraged to find these signs in an interactive and fun format that reinforces learning.

Be Careful and Stay Safe (Learning to Get Along®) by Cheri J. Meiners M.Ed.
Description:  Created with little ones in mind, this book is a helpful aid for demonstrating how to stay away from danger. Steps for following directions, seeking help, and being cautious are addressed.

Online Safety for Children and Teens on the Autism Spectrum: A Parent's and Carer's Guide by Nicola Lonie
Description:  This guide is extremely valuable for parents of children, teens, and young adults with autism who are concerned with on-line safety. Providing an education in protection from internet obsession, cyberbullying, computer hacking, and inappropriate social networking, this book is an absolute necessity for parents to regulate and facilitate their child’s computer time. Also, included is a dictionary for decoding slang as well as forms that can be downloaded to monitor internet use.

Autism Life Skills: From Communication and Safety to Self-Esteem and More by Chantal Sicile-Kira
Description:  Together with the experience of having an autistic teen and using the opinions of affected adults, the author designed a very helpful guidebook. This book is comprised of ten chapters that covers key life skills for autistic individuals.

Managing Meltdowns: Using the S.C.A.R.E.D. Calming Technique with Children and Adults with Autism by Will Richards
Description:  Based on the S.C.A.R.E.D (Safe, Calm, Affirmation, Routine, Empathy, Develop) concept developed by psychologist Will Richards, this book brings an understanding not only to individuals with autism, but also those who care for them. The training in this book is valuable in aiding to all persons involved in potentially dangerous situations.

Tools

Safety in the Home
Description:  In this article, the Autism Society talks about Safety in the home. It gives tips to prevent injury and wandering, ways to help your child with every day items, and ways to teach your child about safety.

Feds Clarify How to Apply for Autism Tracking Devices
Description:  Article on how to apply to the government for special tracking devices for autism.

Family Wandering Emergency Plan
Description:  This is a printable “Family Wandering Emergency Plan” from AWAARE Collaboration. It will help prepare you and your family before dangerous situations happen and it helps every family member learn what to do and who to contact.

Safety Tips
Description:  Suggestions by Autism Speaks to help plan ahead before your child enters a dangerous situation. These suggestions include certain precautions to teach you child, those around you, and things for you as a parent to consider.

Medical Alert Foundation
Description:  The Medical Alert Foundation is offering free medical IDs and 24/7 wandering support services for parents with children on the autism spectrum.

Prevention Planning
Description:  This article gives tips on how to create a Safety Plan, highlights danger zones in your home and school, and gives tips to help prevent wandering from home or while out in public.

Parent Forums/Blogs

Some forums require you to sign in to Yahoo or Facebook to locate forum names.

Forum/Blog Name:  NAA Autism & Safety: Wandering Prevention
Description:  Mission to reduce autism-related wandering incidents and deaths by raising awareness.

Forum/Blog Name:  Think Safety
Description:  This forum covers the topics of childhood, adolescent as well as adulthood safety of individuals with autism.

Forum/Blog Name:  NAA Autism & Safety: Bullying Prevention
Description:  Mission to raise awareness concerning autism and bullying.

Forum/Blog Name:  Friendship Circle Blog
Description:  This blog explains the seven different tracking devices available for parents to keep their children with autism safe.