“Oh no – where did he go?!”
Eight-year-old Hamza Rehman has ASD, and his mom, Riffat Rehman, constantly worries about him getting lost. Hamza’s inability to speak compounds this problem.
Since many children with ASD cannot communicate effectively, it is important that they have proper identification in the event that they run away or get lost in the crowd. The risk of elopement is a major concern as soon as your child with autism becomes mobile. If your child leaves home without supervision, he or she is then vulnerable and may be unable to return home or tell a stranger where he or she lives.
Some children can be taught to carry an identification card in a wallet or fanny pack and can learn to show their identification cards if they are not able to verbalize the information. But if your child lacks verbal skills or is afraid of strangers, there are many options still available.
For example, a medical ID bracelet or necklace can work well — as long as your child can tolerate wearing it. Start by choosing a comfortable sport-band style ID (as seeon on the boy at right) or a silicone wristband in your child’s favorite color personalized with your name and emergency contact information — see details on both types below. Persist as much as possible to encourage your little runner to keep it on. (Is the wrist simply a no-go? Try his ankle.) Another option is to use iron-on labels on his clothes.
Tip: To make it less likely to lose your child in a crowd, dress him or her in a brightly-colored t-shirt
Autism safety resources: Where to get what you need
So where do you begin with this all? Here are links to several safety devices and tools to help you and your child:
Identification equipment for kids with autism
- Personalized silicone wristbands – like the LiveStrong wristbands
- Medical ID bracelets/sportbands
- Reflective ID belt
- ID tag for a child’s shoes
- Iron-on labels / clothing and sticker labels
Surveillance/monitoring a child with autism
- Summer video monitoring system
- SafetyTurtle swimming pool alarm
- GE battery-operated magnetic door chime/alarm
- Safe Care Wandering System
Keeping your autistic child close & safe
- Safety harnesses
- Toddler safety harness, backpack style
- Jackaboo on-chair seatbelt/converts to harness
- 2-Pack Evenflo Simple Fit Pressure Gate (shown on page 1)
- Kidco toilet lock
- Furniture wall straps
Emergency locators/GPS tracking for autistic kids
Of course, there’s nothing that will feel as good as holding your child safe in your arms. And while none of these tools and techniques can ever replace adult supervision, they can help you sleep a little better at night, stress out less during the day… and maybe even give you more sweet chances to hold your little one in your arms.
For more on autism, see: