I walked into the room where I left him watching TV. The room is empty. The back door is cracked open.
This scenario has happened to me three times now. I have been blessed three times the farthest he has gone is to sit in the street and wait for his brother to come home from school. Once he didn’t even leave the house and after running around the house, screaming his name, I found him in the bedroom.
It is a terrifying situation.
We have taken measures to keep Declan safe in the house. To be sure we know when a door is being opened. Here is what we have found works best for us.
7 Tips to Help With Autism Wandering
ALERT YOUR NEIGHBORS
Thankfully, we are friendly with our neighbors and have notified them Declan has autism. They have seen us chasing him around the house. They know he has left our house unattended before. Autism Speaks provides a neighbor alert letter you can find here, to alert your neighbors that your loved one wanders and what to do to help.
We use these alarms which stick to your doors with double-sided tape and are easy to remove without damage. They are loud and signal anyone around that a main door has opened. They have let us know many times that Declan has left and we need to get him.
We do not use a tracking device currently. Declan takes off his clothes so often that I do not know how to keep a tracking device on him when he is at home. There are some great options out there, like Angel Sense. We are also currently backing the Proximity Team with their sensor to help prevent wandering. We are hopeful this device will help us at home and when we are in the community.
DOOR KNOB COVERS
When Declan was younger, we put these door knob covers on all the doors. He has figured out how to pop them off, but it slows him down.
On our French Doors we use a bungee cord. It is tied tight and he is unable to get it off.
We have an ID bracelet for Declan. We put it on him when we are going out of the house to a public area. He is okay with that. Along with his preference to be without clothes, he will not wear it in the house. The bracelet we use can be found here.
These Stop Sign Prompts are also great visuals to put on doors that we do not want Declan to go through.
AUTISM ELOPEMENT ALERT FORM FOR FIRST RESPONDERS
It is always a good idea to have this form filled out and ready to go, just in case. You do everything you can to keep your special person safe, but they may get by undetected somehow. Having the form ready and available will just bring another peace of mind if your loved one wanders.
Declan has wandered away from our home many times, three without me knowing he had left. It is a terrifying experience.
Declan leaves his classroom at school. He has a 1/1 aid to ensure his safety and to bring him back to the classroom.
Keeping him safe and secure is our number one priority. These are the measures we have taken to keep him safe.
How about you? What measures do you take or would you recommend?
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/44373968@N00/65440175″>Walking alone</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>