Five Tips for Preventing Wandering at Your Child’s School

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Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The Scott Center

Five Tips for Preventing Wandering at Your Child’s School

Helpful Tips to Help Ease Your Worries

  1. If your child has a tendency to wander, it is critical to address elopement issues in their Individualized Education Program (IEP). If there is a history of wandering, it’s important to meet with school staff, administrators, and your child’s IEP team to make them aware, as well as educate them on the autism wandering issue in general. In addition to including wandering-related information, be sure that your child’s IEP also includes safety skills measures.

  2. Write a letter requesting that you always be informed, immediately and in writing, of any wandering incident on or off the campus. If your child requires 1-on-1 supervision, be sure to make this extremely clear to school staff – and clearly documented in the IEP – and emphasize that under no circumstances should your child be left alone at any time.

  3. Carefully document all wandering-related incidents. Sharing this information with the staff at your child’s school will help prepare them if such an incident occurs at school. For example, where would he/she most likely be drawn to near campus?

  4. Ask what the school’s policies are on wandering prevention. Understand any and all security measures used by the school. If you think something is missing (i.e. a barrier you find necessary that may not be in place), be sure to voice your concerns. Speaking up is often required to ensure your child’s safety. A note from your child’s doctor noting these incidents could help provide sound reasoning for strong security measures.

  5. Introduce your child to all security staff. Provide the security team with more information about your child, such as how to calm him or her down, whether or not he or she responds well to touch, sound, etc. All security should be aware of your child’s tendency to wander so they take extra note of the importance of keeping an eye on your child. Click here for an Elopement Alert Form to fill out with specific information about your child for all first responders including school security.

Some of this information was originally posted at:  www.autismspeaks.org/wandering

For further information and access to ABA therapy to address elopement and other challenging behaviors, contact The Scott Center for Autism Treatment