One-third of autistic kids likelier to wander off

Washington : Kids with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have a tendency to wander away from an adult or caregiver, according to a recent study.

A review of data on 1,420 children ages 6 to 17 with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) found that more than one-third had wandered away from a safe environment within the past 12 months,

Senior investigator Andrew Adesman of Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New said that elopement, or wandering, places children with autism spectrum disorders at risk of serious injury or even death once they are away from adult supervision. Despite its clear relevance to the safety of these children, there has been little research on elopement.

The researchers found that wanderers were more likely to not realize when they are in danger, to have difficulty distinguishing between strangers and familiar people, to show sudden mood changes, to over-react to situations and people, to get angry quickly, and to panic in new situations or if change occurs.

Researchers also found that wanderers were more than twice as likely to elope from a public place, compared to their home or school.

These findings also highlight an urgency to identify more effective strategies for preventing potential elopement tragedies.

The findings are reported at the Pediatric Academic Societies meeting in Baltimore. (ANI)