The Mercury News tells the story of Danny Barrett an autistic San Jose boy who disappeared overnight in the woods. It also describes the realities faced by parents of children with autism:
It is one of many facets of autism they learn to accommodate:their kids' tendency to wander off. Sometimes it's because, like all kids, they are curious. Sometimes it's because their senses are overloaded and they need to get away.
But what's most troubling about the tendency, said Anna Wang, an advocate for children with special needs, is that autistic kids don't always understand danger.
"They don't necessarily run away. They want to explore and just wander off. But they don't know how to identify danger," said Wang, founder of the Friends of Children with Special Needs Dream Center in Fremont. "They don't know it is dangerous to cross the highway."
There are tracking bracelets available but many autistic children are sensitive to touch and do not want to wear the bracelets. In Conor's case we asked his ABA consultant for help and she designed a sub-routine involving pylon's around the perimeter of his yard and worked to teach Conor not to wander off away from home.
We have worked with Conor on ensuring his understanding of the dangers of automobile traffic and roads ever since. And we have been vigilant, constantly vigilant. In the photo, taken last winter, you can see me walking across a Fredericton intersection with Conor ....... with my hand firmly grasping his wrist.