Kids with autism present specific challenges when it comes to safety. Discover tips for working with caregivers, teachers and friends to improve safety measures for your child.
Kids on the autism spectrum may exhibit curiosity about how things work, a lack of awareness of common sense dangers, and a tendency to wander or bolt. These tendencies can create potential for accidents or getting lost. Help protect your ASD child from everyday dangers with these helpful safety tips for special needs kids.
Play it safe at home
Many parents are done baby proofing by the time kids are in school. Parents of kids with ASD must remain diligent for much longer. Update your home’s safety features and keep them updated, checking frequently to ensure that batteries have a full charge and locks and safety equipment are functioning properly.
Keep medications and cleaning products well out of reach, and don’t underestimate your child’s ability to open locks or climb. Use safety locks on all kitchen and bathroom drawers and cabinets.
Install door chimes or set your home’s alarm system to sound a chime every time outside doors are opened. Use baby gates in the home to close off parts of the house at night, and use locks on windows and doors.
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Team up with family, friends and neighbors
Get to know your neighbors and your child’s teachers, caretakers and therapists. In the event of an emergency or in case your child wanders away, it’s crucial to save time and avoid having to explain your child’s special needs at that time.
Organize important information about your child at home, preferably laminated and where it can easily be found. Include emergency contact numbers, medication and dietary needs, and other information that may be helpful to emergency personnel and caregivers. At gatherings, events and on the road, coordinate with other responsible adults. Make sure someone is always in charge of knowing exactly where your child is.
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Be prepared for wandering and bolting
According to a poll conducted by the National Autism Association, 92 percent of parents reported that their children with autism have a tendency to wander. Kids with ASD may also have a tendency to bolt when over-stimulated, scared or angry. Talk to your child using developmentally appropriate social stories to help avoid triggers and behavior that could lead to bolting. Avoid situations with known triggers, such as events with bright lights and loud music.
Consider using location technology, such as the EmSeeQ® Location Device, a bracelet that uses GPS technology to quickly locate the wearer in the event of an emergency. Keep identification on your child in the form of an ID card or medical bracelet, as well as identification and contact information in her backpack. When traveling, consider using additional identification, such as temporary tattoos with your contact information. Consider running a drill with family and friends to establish the proper chain of events for contacting authorities, emergency personnel and family in the event of an emergency.
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