Nearly Half of Children with Autism Wander

According to the Interactive Autism Network (IAN),, the nation’s largest online autism research project, approximately half of parents of children with autism report that their child elopes, with nearly 50% saying that their child went missing long enough to cause significant concern about safety. Parents with an autistic child should look into tracking and monitoring technologies and GPS devices, however due to Tactile Sensitivity or hypersensitivity, common with autistic children, which is an unusual or increased sensitivity to touch that makes the person feel peculiar, noxious, or even in pain, it is highly recommended to look into “wearable GPS technology” that is embedded into an article of clothing or footwear. #connectedandprotected

Wandering/Elopement Statistics:

  • Roughly half, or 48%, of children with an ASD attempt to elope from a safe environment, a rate nearly four times higher than their unaffected siblings
  • In 2009, 2010, and 2011, accidental drowning accounted for 91% total U.S. deaths reported in children with an ASD ages 14 and younger subsequent to wandering/elopement.
  • More than one third of ASD children who wander/elope are never or rarely able to communicate their name, address, or phone number
  • Two in three parents of elopers reported their missing children had a “close call” with a traffic injury
  • 32% of parents reported a “close call” with a possible drowning
  • Wandering was ranked among the most stressful ASD behaviors by 58% of parents of elopers
  • 62% of families of children who elope were prevented from attending/enjoying activities outside the home due to fear of wandering
  • 40% of parents had suffered sleep disruption due to fear of elopement
  • Children with ASD are eight times more likely to elope between the ages of 7 and 10 than their typically-developing siblings

Source: Interactive Autism Network Research Report: Elopement and Wandering (2011)