Autism Awareness and Wandering – Tips for parents and the wider community

Autism Awareness and wandering – some tips for parents and the wider community

Includes information on wandering and how to deal with it and arising issues. Check out our previous blog here.

You can see the original here

Autism Awareness -Tips for parents and the wider community
Autism Awareness -Tips for parents and the wider community

Wandering and children on the autism spectrum. Please help with this vital research project!

Wandering and autism
Wandering and autism
Wandering by children with Autism and other developmental disorders is a significant safety concern.  It is estimated that more than 250,000 children with disabilities wander away from adult supervision each year.   Few researchers have looked at this major issue, and there has been little focus on prevention measures and the impact that wandering concerns have on families.
Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York is conducting a major national study about wandering, and we very much want you to participate.
It takes just a few minutes to complete the anonymous, on-line questionnaire.  If enough families complete our questionnaire, then:
  • We will have the most representative study done to date – giving voice to as many families as possible
  • We can help guide families like yours about which prevention strategies seem to be most effective
  • We can document the impact that wandering has on families in terms of activities and household stress
Please click HERE to complete the survey.  You may also go to to take the survey, request a copy of our results, and be contacted regarding a follow-up research project related to wandering.


The Proximity Button – a brilliant new way of supporting people with dementia and those on the autism spectrum who wander – from Natalie Price

Proximity for Autism and Dementia
Proximity for Autism and Dementia

Hi everyone,

My name’s Natalie and I’m 25-year-old entrepreneur who’s trying to make a difference. For the past 2 years I’ve been developing a wearable product that I hope will change the lives of families who are looking after those who may be more vulnerable.

Inspired by my own mom who’s cared for people with dementia for 15 years, I wanted to create a simple and affordable device that would keep them safer from wandering: a common and very dangerous side effect of dementia.

My product is called the Proximity Button. The Button is a small, light badge that is worn by the person with dementia. The Button connects to the carer’s smartphone via Bluetooth. If the person wearing the Button wanders too far from the carer and their smartphone, the phone alarms to alert the carer. The Proximity Button is a simple warning device to protect loved ones from wandering too far in the first place.

A few weeks ago I launched my crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. Start-up companies like my own, use crowdfunding to help get their products to market. There are two different types of crowdfunding: donation-based, where people give money out of goodwill; and reward crowdfunding, where donators contributions are exchanged for current or future products – the most popular type at this time. Our crowdfunding campaign is both. You can either donate or purchase the Proximity Button.

I’ve always been very aware of wandering issues within dementia due to my mom; however, it wasn’t until I began crowdfunding that I realised what a prevalent problem it is within autistic children too.  A few days in to our campaign, a father in Philadelphia emailed me to say he had purchased a Proximity Button for his son who has autism. We had a Skype call shortly after as I really wanted to understand more and found how I/Proximity could help. Ralph explained that he loved the simplicity of Proximity and also the price point – there are some great products out there to hep with wandering but they often have a huge price tag. It was great to hear such positive feedback!

I am delighted to say that we’re now at 44% of our target and we still have just over 2 weeks to go! I would love for people to take a look at our campaign page – there is a great little video that shows the product in more detail and it fully explains how it works. From the campaign page, you can either donate or pre-order a Proximity Button. There are still some left at the early bird price too! But most importantly, I ask you to please share the campaign with everyone you know, the Button’s use can be extended to anyone, and you never know who might need protecting.

Thank you



Autism and Challenging Behaviour part 10. Autism and wandering! Have your child with autism ever walked off? What did you do about it?

Autism and a missing child
Autism and a missing child
I have to say, as the parent of a seven year old boy with autism, it is one of my greatest fears.

It? When an autistic child goes missing.

What happens if you child wanders off? How do you cope?

So far it has not happened . At present our son John is still quite clingy. Indeed he does not like to swim to the deep end of the pool. Other wise “bad things will happen” as he puts it. But I have to say I’m terrified that a day will come when he just wanders off.

Most of us in the ASD community have read about Avonte Oquendo the 14 year old from New York who went missing in October 2013. He remains were discovered three months later. His mother according to recent reports has decided to take the city among other to court for negligence.

A repeat of such an event is something which scares all parents but with a child with autism it does seem to be much higher.

So what should I do? Sadly it is impossible to watch John every minute to every daY. Hence this blog post.

I’m looking for advice from my readers. Please use the comments section below to add your opinions. It would be great if you could consider some of the following questions.:-

a) Has you child with autism ever wandered? If so what were the circumstance?
b) What do you do to prevent your child from wandering?
c) How effective is it?
d) What one piece of advice would you give to the parents of a child with autism who has just come missing?
e) What are the best places to turn for support?

Please remember that these are only suggestions as to what aspect of the topic to discuss. many thing you have to share will be of great interest to us.

Many thanks in advance.