No easy solution when kids with autism wander

autism weighted vests
Kennebec Journal

As the number of children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder has soared, a nationwide effort is gaining ground to spread the word about their likelihood to wander off from a safe environment.

Of the more than 500,000 children on the autism spectrum, about half are prone to wandering. This behavior has been linked to the deaths of dozens of children with autism since 2008. One such tragedy — involving a New York City boy found dead in a river three months after he walked away from school — has spurred the U.S. government to fund GPS tracking devices for children with autism spectrum disorders.

But while the effort to expand families’ access to tracking devices is a worthy one, it shouldn’t overshadow the lower-tech strategies for preventing and responding to wandering by children with autism: collaboration, education and sharing information. Though safety can be enhanced by technology, it shouldn’t depend on technology.

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2 responses to “No easy solution when kids with autism wander

  1. This is very scary and knowing that a lot of these children love and are attracted to the water make things worse. Law enforcement also needs to realize time is of the essence here and that most of these children are not going to respond to their name being called.


    • I think that’s a really good point about the kids not being responsive to their name being called. This trait doesn’t seem to be well known among those not directly affected by Autism but it is so vital to understand!


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