Autism awareness: keep your child safe
Kids with cognitive, emotional or social limitations are at higher risk of injury or accidents – so what do you need to bear in mind to keep your autistic child safe and well?
Safety and your autistic child…
According to SafeKids, nine million US children under 18 years old have a special health care need – and it can be a big factor when it comes to keeping them safe. Kids with developmental disabilities, whether physical and psychological, have higher rates of injury; as do children with cognitive, emotional or social limitations. So what do you need to bear in mind to keep your special needs child safe and well?
Why is he at risk?
Autistic children are inclined to wander. If they tend to distrust other adults and children they may not respond when they’re called; if they are too trusting of strangers they could be coaxed into potentially dangerous situations. They also may not sleep through the night, meaning that there is potential for them to get up and at it without your knowledge.
Keep doors and windows secured with childproof locks, especially at night. You may be able to get an alarm that sounds when the door is opened or inadvertently left open.
If you have a pool or pond, fence it off. If there are other children using the pool and there is a risk the gate might not be closed properly, consider a pool gate alarm – it sounds if your child manages to unlatch the gate or if the gate fails to re-latch after someone uses it. These also provide an invaluable Immersion Alarm consisting of a wristband that triggers an alarm if your child falls into the water or ventures close enough to get the band wet.
Shopping centres, parks and public events and festivals are a safety nightmare for any parent but more so if your child is autistic. Consider tamper-proof ID bracelets and wristbands, dogtags, or clothing/shoe labels. A child locator is also invaluable: it beeps to give away your child’s location and is especially useful if he tends not to respond when called. Some models allow you to monitor more than one child and sound if the bracelet is removed or if your child goes beyond a certain range. A GPS locator can work better with older children and enable you to map your child’s location.
- Parents' Guide to Autism: You’re familiar with the term, but how does autism actually affect a child? How can you tell if your child may be autistic? And what should you do if you see the signs…?
- Your very special child: It’s important that you try to find a routine that addresses your special child’s disability and also gives his siblings the attention they need…
- Special Needs and Your Relationship For a relationship that’s fragile or unstable, a child with a disability can be the last straw. If you and your partner are parenting a child with special needs, here are some suggestions to help you survive the challenges.
Find out more
- Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew by Ellen Notbohm. Sheds light on what your autistic child thinks and feels, helping you rethink your own beliefs and understand how best to understand and communicate with him.
- 1001 Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders by Veronica Zysk and Ellen Notbohm. Packed with handy tips that provide immediate solutions to the daily challenges of raising a child with autism.
- The Autism Acceptance Book This wonderful book is invaluable for helping siblings better understand an autistic brother or sister, using words and activities to encourage compassion and appreciation for people different from themselves and to demonstrate the challenges kids and adults with autism might face.