Elopement and autism

Minion Monday – Elopement

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Minion Monday – Elopement (that word doesn’t mean what you think it means said in my best Inigo Montoya voice)

Elopement and autism

Sometimes words have two meaning. – Led Zepplin

So it is Minion Monday again.

Elopement is often referred to as when a couple who wants to be married runs off and gets married.

In the autism community, it means something different.

It is a scary word.

In fact, many of us have ongoing nightmares about it.

Dictionary.com defines it as – an act or instance of leaving a safe area or safe premises, done by a person with a mental disorder or cognitive impairment

So basically, it means your child wanders off. It could be from school, a park, a friends home, sitter, daycare, or even home.

There are a million tips, and resources to help, tons of expensive gadgets and gizmos to help prevent it.

Some of them work.

Most of them don’t work. (for us at least)
This said I am going to share a few things that did work for us.

The 1st thing we came across was the Big Red Safety Box– This came from the National Autism Association, there were a bunch of things in it but the best were stick on magnet door and window alarms. They are LOUD, and my son hates the noise.

So when they are on he won’t open the door.

On the door we use the most often the alarm is often left off by the other people in my house.  So on this one we place the large red STOP sign that came in the box. While not as effective, it does help.

The next is tie him to bed.


Though I have to admit I thought about it.  He is never ever alone except in the bathroom.  If I am not with him, he is with his brothers or his father.  He shares a room with one of his brothers too.

Last  we talk about it.  He is minimally verbal however that doesn’t mean he can’t understand you when you talk to him.  Anytime he goes outside he is with someone, or watched.

He is told over and over about not going out alone.

The local police know we have an autistic child, all the neighbors know too! So our whole community can watch out for him if he manages to get past our safeguards.

You can print your own STOP signs
(there are a bunch of free options well they cost you ink and paper)

You can buy your own Alarms.

You can even watch your kid like some kind of superspy.

The facts are that approx 50% of all kids with autism exhibit some kind of elopement behavior.  As we have seen in the media lately, too many of those kids never make it home again.

If you don’t have an autistic child you can still help!

Learn who in your community is in danger,  be a good neighbor, or friend and watch if you see the child out alone. Help them back home if you can. If not talk to the parents or call the police.

If you have a close friend of family member who has an autistic child understand when they won’t leave their child alone.

Most importantly if you ever see a child alone near water make sure they are safe anyway you can.

Elopement while it can mean something wonderful.

It can also mean a nightmare.

I don’t just mean the divorce that might follow either.

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