According to research done published in the Journal of the American Academy of Paediatrics, nearly half of children with autism are at risk of wandering or eloping from their present, safe environment. Children with autism go missing under a variety of circumstances. They may seek out small or enclosed spaces. They may wander toward places of special interest or may try to escape overwhelming stimuli such as sights, sounds, surroundings or activities of others (National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, 2015). Sadly, with the spike in stories of individuals with autism going missing in the past year, we’ve come to realise that many children with autism are not emphasized with safety skills as part of their integral curriculum enough.
Drowning is one of the leading causes of death for children with autism. That statistic is certainly startling. But what makes it even more devastating is that with the right measures in place drowning deaths can be prevented. To understand how to prevent these drownings, it’s important that parents and caregivers understand why children with autism are at such high risk.
In this day and age, it often seems like our world revolves around the internet. Everywhere we turn, there are teens and tweens “Google-ing it”, “Friend-ing someone”, or “Tweeting” about the latest news updates. Technology and the internet offer great opportunities for learning and equipping young people with tools to learn, communicate, and play. Individuals with autism, just like other typical teenagers, are equally as interested in using the internet as a portal to mass information or connection to millions of people.
As we discussed last week, puberty is one of the most challenging developmental states both for the child and also the parents. Many parents fear approaching the subject and are worried on how to relate the information to a child with autism. Individuals on the spectrum often need longer to adjust and understand the process of puberty.
Most individuals with autism have a difficult time with changes and are very comfortable with familiarity and sameness. So one can imagine the stressfulness and uncertainty that occurs when their physical appearance start to change drastically and rapidly. It is not enough that they have a terrible time with changes, but that the changes are happening to themselves personally and that they have no control over the changes.
Grooming skills and personal hygiene is something we all take for granted as a simple routine everyday. It is not until we become guardians of a child with autism that we understand how a simple routine can overwhelm one’s senses and the act of grooming is truly a combination of various skills put together to make one large complex skill.
When it comes to food it can be very confusing to make the right decisions given all the choices; the information about what is “healthy” can be puzzling, your child’s temperament can be challenging and your own feelings around food can also impact how and what you feed your child.