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Safety Planning

I am a grandmother of a child with autism and I worry when my grandson comes to visit he will wander from my home; how can I make sure this doesn’t happen.”

This is a frequently asked question by family members of individuals with autism. It’s critical for families to put a safety plan in place and increase awareness of the safety risks for the individual with autism.

We would like to hear from you about what steps you took that worked to insure the safety of your family member with autism. Please share your experiences so that others may benefit. For more information visit: Autism Safety Project at: www.autismsafetyproject.org

Additional Safety and Autism resources in November’s Community Connections include; Safety and Autism, with updates to the Autism Safety Project and feature Safety in the Home Workbook and Video, a resource developed for families by Ohio State University faculty and funded by a Family Serves Community Grants.  Please join us for two Facebook Live Chats scheduled, on Nov 15th at 4-5 pm EST Dennis Debbaudt, www.autismriskmanagement.com will present “How to Prepare for an Autism Emergency,”  and on Nov 20th at 2 pm EST George Braddock, from Creative Housing Solutions, will present his work Housing designs.

  1. shan morgan
    November 8, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    I have old school door chains and this real cheap little door alarms that have a on and off switch easy to install on my door and it has worked great, dbl safety but I can’t replace him and it is worth it. We placed them really high on door I can reach on my tippy toes but he won’t be able to for several years it has worked awesome. Also DON’T open windows when he is there my son has pushed screen out and taken off before.

  2. Jscarclar
    November 8, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    You may want to check out SafetyNet by LoJack – http://www.safetynetbylojack.com

  3. Carol Lamar
    November 8, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    My son is 5 and so far the plastic safety devices that you put over the door handle seem to work for him. You have to squeeze them to turn the knob. He can’t seem to make them work. I might have re-think it when he gets older but for now it does the job.

    • November 12, 2011 at 12:38 pm

      Lucky! My daughter figured out she can just pull them apart! LOL!

  4. November 8, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    My girlfriend’s step-brother has autism and they use the Safety 1st Grip and Twist door knob covers combined with the deadbolt and they never have a problem. He’s 15 and on the lower-functioning end of the spectrum.

    • November 8, 2011 at 12:57 pm

      He also wears a gps locator on his wrist, and can be tracked by her step-dad’s iPhone 4.

  5. Susie Soto
    November 8, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    The best thing is go to the Dollar Stores and get your self those hanging Bells that are now out for the Christmas Holidays and placed them around each door knobs of your home and entrances as well as around the Windows hedges.

  6. Annelle
    November 8, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    The front door has a dead blot that sticks that my son cannot turn and the screen door has a latch up real high so that it will keep him in for at least a few more years. As for the back sliding door, besides he lock on the handle there is also a kick lock that he has not figured out yet and we are not going to show him anytime soon. The screen door there also has a lock on it that sticks. Finally if he does get out back, the backyard is fenced in with keyed padlocks on all the gates. Luckily he is not a climber. Indoors, we have chain locks on all the doors including the door that leads to the garage. We are also careful about the windows, but there are “toddler” locks on them that only allow them up only about 6 inches. I hope this helps!

  7. November 8, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    When we first moved in to our new house, we installed screw locks on all windows and double key deadbolts on the front door, and a “pin lock” on our sliding glass door to keep our little Houdini in the house. He’d escaped a couple times the first week, and it scared us enough to turn our home into Fort Knox to keep Travis safe.

  8. Leslie
    November 9, 2011 at 12:02 am

    Find out if your town has a “project lifesaver” program by calling your local sherriff’s department. It is a locator bracelet that the police cars are equipped to find, It has brought me great peace knowing that my son can not only be found, but the officers will know how to handle the individual when found because they have the caregiver fill out a very detailed emergency form.

  9. Oma
    November 9, 2011 at 11:57 am

    My grandson is 5 and very capable of opening doors and windows. That coupled with a lack of sense of danger, and a tendency to bolt through any open door, is of course a big concern. My apartment front door thankfully had a deadbolt that has to be turned with a key, so I always keep the door locked. I have a spare key out of sight in a decorative pocket hanger for outgoing mail, which hangs close to the door in case I have to open up quickly. The glass sliding doors that go to the outside patio were another concern, but a friend made a wooden bar for me that fits in the bottom runner, between the wall and the sliding door. It’s very hard to take out so that’s been just perfect. The windows are hard to open and out of his reach, so home is relatively safe. As for outside safety, besides not letting him out of my sight and reach, I purchased a leash that clips to his belt or can go around his wrist for when we go somewhere with crowds. He likes it as it’s rainbow colored, and it also gives him the freedom to walk without having to hold hands. He also carries a little label in his pocket with his name and emergency contact number. On my car I posted a sign to alert Emergency services that there is an occupant with Autism in the vehicle who may not respond to verbal commands, and I keep emergency information on him in the glove compartment also. God forbid we should ever be in an accident, but I feel it’s better safe than sorry. The Autism Society of America has a very handy Safety Kit available, which outline these and other helpful tips. I was very happy with it, and am still working through a few other to-do’s from their kit, such as arranging a trip to the Fire Station so my grandson can become familiar with Emergency personnel, and red-flagging his information in the 911 database. With so many reports of children with Autism wandering off, it seems the more we can prepare to protect them in advance from any eventuality, the better. Better to build a fence at the top of the cliff, than a hospital at the bottom.

  10. November 12, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    With two kids on the spectrum, we live in a veritable Ft. Knox! My daughter is a true escape artist; she once escaped her room through her window. She didn’t unlock the window — she pulled it out of its jamb! So we have installed rods above the windows to prevent them from opening, double-keyed deadbolts on the doors, a pin lock on our sliding patio door, and chains. She also likes to dump everything she can, so our pantry and closets have keyed doorknobs on them. And we even reversed the doorknob on her room so that she can’t get out after she’s put to bed. Might sound a little extreme to some parents, but we sleep better at night knowing that she can’t get out and hurt herself.

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