Wandering is often a concern with children with social communication disorders or developmental delay. The walk to school, shopping at the mall, and large scale social events like county fairs and community clean up days provide ample opportunities for kids to wander from parents; and children who lack the tools to ask for help are often at a disadvantage to become reunited with their caregivers. Here are some tips to help prepare your child for possible separation situations.

Create a Social Story about the potential situation. Dr. Carol Gray’s website offers tips on creating read-aloud stories on how social situations are typically handled. Writing a story with your child as the protagonist can help him better understand the steps to getting himself back to thetake-me-home_logo adult in charge.

If your child is a recurring wanderer, consider a locating device. There are many barely-there, wearable devices that allow you to find your child within ten feet of where they stand. Visit our Safety listings on page 50 for several locating services and devices.

Create a community web of friends. The senior down the street, the stay-at-home mom, and the Neighborhood Watch Captain should all know about your child’s tendency to wander and have your contact info for emergencies.

Whether your child wanders or not, have him registered with the Sheriff’s Department’s Take Me Home registry. It is in your child’s best interest to have his diagnosis and social/emotional needs registered with law enforcement so they know how to best help your child should the need arise. Visit the Autism Society for more information, and register your child.