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IAN Reports on Measures to Prevent Wandering Injuries in Autism

Date Published: 
May 14, 2017

San Francisco, CA - The Interactive Autism Network (IAN) yesterday reported on research into preventing injuries in children with autism who wander. As IAN has researched previously, a significant percentage of children with autism wander away or bolt from caregivers and safe places. Called "elopement," this behavior can result in injuries, traffic accidents or drowning.

More than 800 parents in the IAN Research registry answered questions about their children's wandering, the measures they used to respond to it, and the effectiveness of those measures.1 Many parents reported using physical, electronic and behavioral interventions to prevent elopement. Locks, door alarms, security sysems and fencing were rated as "highly effective" by those parents. They rated security systems as highly effective, while GPS trackers were less effective and more burdensome. Parents also reported that various medications given specifically to reduce elopement behaviors, or for other disorders, were "generally ineffective" in reducing elopement. Researchers discussed those findings at a poster session at the 2017 International Meeting for Autism Research yesterday.

References

  1. Andersen, AM, Law, JK, Marvin, AR, & Lipkin, PH. Prevention of Elopement-Related Injuries in Children with ASD. Poster session at International Meeting for Autism Research, May 13, 2017.