Some children with disabilities tend to wander off on their own. In the disability community, this usually means the child leaves a safe area or leaves the sightline of their parents or caregivers. Children that do this can be called “elopers” or “runners.”
This is a concern for many parents or caregivers. It affects not only the individual but the whole family. It is a very serious safety concern.
Taking measures to try to keep our kids in the house or in our sight when we are in a public place is not unusual. They can include adjustments to the home, such as setting up alarms, installing video monitors and adding extra locks on doors and windows.
What can we do when our child leaves our sight if we are out in the community? Having a plan in place for when this happens is crucial. Here are some ideas:
Most times, our kids’ wandering will happen in a blink of an eye and will more than likely catch us by surprise. The main and most important thing when this happens is to stay calm and think. Being in shock will be a common and normal reaction. But the sooner we calm down and use our plan, the sooner we will reunite with our kids.
If you lose your child in a public setting, be loud! When this happened to me, I immediately started yelling out, “looking for a 4-year-old boy, wearing a red t-shirt and khaki pants, who has autism.” I repeated this a few times. It took about eight seconds to hear that somebody found him.
He was playing on the other side of the park from where we were. It’s important to remember little details about our kids so we can act fast if this situation happens.
Sharing these tips with your family members and the support system around your child will make the team stronger. I hope this helps you as much as it helped me.
Talk with other parents about ways to keep your child safe and in sight.
As the parent of a child with mild Cerebral Palsy, I learned that the word “hurry” doesn’t apply to my son, Jason. With motor planning difficulties, hurrying just wasn’t something he could do. I learned to adapt and accommodate our schedule to allow extra time. However, when I found myself in the situation of caring for elderly parents & parents-in-law, and our son, I struggled to find the patience I once had with Jason.
Categories: Family Support