Missing Children With Autism
According to survey data published in the journal Pediatrics, nearly half of families reported their children with autism wandered or eloped from safe environments. And more than a third of the children who wandered were unable to communicate their name and/or address. Finding and safely recovering a missing child with autism presents unique and difficult challenges for families, law enforcement, first responders and search teams. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has special search protocols and checklists to help first responders.
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 to them. Or they may try to escape overwhelming stimuli such as sights, sounds, surroundings or activities of others.
New Data and Safety Resources for 2017
A 10-Year Analysis of Data Related to Missing Children with Autism who have been Reported Missing to NCMEC
How to Host a Sensory Friendly First Responder Event for Children with Autism - Created with n2y
Autism Points of Light for First Responders
Children with autism may exhibit interests that pose dangers such as:
- Heavy equipment.
- Fire trucks.
- Roadway signs.
- Bright lights.
- Traffic signals.
Children with autism often have an extremely high attraction to water. Because of this we strongly recommend first responders and search teams immediately check all nearby bodies of water in an effort to head-off the child. These bodies of water include but are not limited to streams, ponds, lakes, rivers, creeks, storm-water retention/detention basins and swimming pools.