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Mon Oct 8, 2012, 02:27 AM

Study Shows Children With Autism Tend to Stray

The behavior, called wandering or elopement, has led to numerous deaths in autistic children by drowning and in traffic accidents. Now a new study of more than 1,200 families with autistic children suggests wandering is alarmingly common. Nearly half of parents with an autistic child age 4 or older said their children had tried to leave a safe place at least once, the study reported. One in four said their children had disappeared long enough to cause concern. Many parents said their wandering children had narrowly escaped traffic accidents or had been in danger of drowning.

Those at greatest risk of wandering off were autistic children with severe intellectual deficits and those who do not respond to their names. The research was published on Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

“I knew this was a problem, but I didn’t know just how significant a problem it was until I really began to look into it,” said Dr. Paul A. Law, senior author of the study and director of the Interactive Autism Network, a registry that is a project of the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore. “This is probably one of the leading causes of death and morbidity for kids with autism.”

Advocates for families affected by autism say the findings underscore the need to raise public awareness and alter policy. While Amber alerts are used to mobilize the public when a child is believed to have been abducted, for instance, generally they are not used when a disabled child goes missing, said Alison Singer, president and a founder of the Autism Science Foundation, one of the organizations that supported the study.

full: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/08/science/study-shows-autistic-children-are-likely-to-wander.html

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Reply Study Shows Children With Autism Tend to Stray (Original post)
alp227 Oct 2012 OP
Throckmorton Oct 2012 #1
Demeter Apr 2013 #2
mzteris Apr 2013 #3
TudorGothicSerpent Dec 2013 #4
SheilaT Dec 2013 #5
leftyladyfrommo Oct 2014 #6
Odin2005 Nov 2014 #7

Response to alp227 (Original post)

Mon Oct 15, 2012, 03:59 AM

1. My, now 16 year old PDD-NOS daughter was hell on wheels

She would disappear, or at least try too disappear, on a monents notice. It started becomming less of an issue around the 4th grade, and has basically stopped now. But for about 6 years it was awful.

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Response to Throckmorton (Reply #1)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 07:56 AM

2. Ditto

 

My neighbors thought I was a bad parent, because she was out of the yard, talking to herself.

She's still talking to herself, especially if her medication levels are off, but the wandering has (mostly) abated. She will go off to her own interests in a store or library, but at least she has the sense to look for me at some point.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Sun Apr 21, 2013, 12:38 PM

3. One reason I'm a huge proponent

of companion dogs.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Sun Dec 15, 2013, 10:49 PM

4. When I was a younger child, I had a bad habit of doing this...

I've seen this before, and I'm sure that it's a major problem with autistic children. I have to wonder why, from a psychological standpoint. Maybe autistic children are less easily restrained by fears of parental punishment, because they don't intuitively understand the emotional effect of their wandering?

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Dec 18, 2013, 05:07 AM

5. My older son, who has Asperger's, didn't stray.

 

But he didn't fit what I was reading about childhood development that said very young children stayed close to mom when out somewhere. We'd go to parks, and he'd happily get far from me. He didn't need to check in with me, as the books said a kid that age should.

We didn't figure out that he had Asperger's until he was 18 and halfway through he senior year of high school. I honestly think that we benefitted enormously from his not being diagnosed for so long, because we didn't pathologize him. Yes, there have been various issues, but for the most part we were able to keep him normalized, even though he clearly needed extra help.

For what it's worth, the younger son, definitely not on the autism spectrum, who strayed. He'd go missing in department stores. One time he took off for a midnight party with other young friends (he was six when this happened) and the father of the friends had to return him to us.

So straying is not exclusively something autistic children do, although for those children it may certainly present special problems.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri Oct 17, 2014, 06:42 PM

6. A little autistic boy died here not too long ago.

He drowned in the pond. The article said that autistic children are often drawn to water.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Thu Nov 6, 2014, 03:31 AM

7. When I was little I was way too curious for my own good.

I constantly terrified my mom by hiding in the circular clothes racks at stores. My dad thought it was hilarious.

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