Almost half of children with Autism will wander away | News
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Local parents dealing with Autism say findings of a new study are all too real.
something we constantly work to prevent," said Michelle Outman. Outman
is the mother of two adopted twins diagnosed with Autism in the last
year, Phisher and Phelix.
According to a new study, almost half
of children with Autism will wander away from safety. Most of those
children will end up missing for an average of 41 minutes. Of those, 65
percent had a close call with traffic, another 24 percent were in danger
"They open doors and leave the house and
they don't understand that it's not safe they don't worry about cars or
getting lost," said Outman. "They don't have that fear most kids are
born with. It's not that they are misbehaving or that they don't want to
stay close they literally don't understand."
That's why she and therapist Rachel Poe designed stop sign door hangers for every door of their home.
are very smart children so they figured out how to manipulate all the
locks," said Outman. "We actually had to teach them to go and ask a
responsible adult if they could go outside. So, the signs have pictures
of responsible people in our house they can go and ask."
According to the study, "flight risk", as it's known to parents, is very real for kids with Autism.
in Pediatrics, the study finds almost 49 percent of children with
Autism will wander away from safety. The study focused on 1200 children.
Therapists who work with the Outman twins say the
study's finding makes public awareness that much more important. Poe
says friends and neighbors need to know if they see the child alone,
it's not okay.
"Children with Autism think in the
moment so if they see a door open they are going to go outside," said
Poe. "If you're just driving down the road and you feel something isn't
right and you see a child, use your gut."
Findings from the
study were used by the Centers for Disease Control in efforts to get
preventative support services for autism. There's also a movement to
create an Autism Alert warning system similar to an Amber Alert.
To help deal with flight risk, some families are turning to service dogs to keep their children with autism safe.
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