Asking for help

When people with autism are out in the community, it is critical that they know what to do in certain situations that may arise. This may often require asking for help. Knowing how to ask for help safely and in a timely manner will help ensure the safety of your loved one.

What to do if you get lost

There may be concern that a person can get lost while out in the community, whether alone or with peers. It is it is important to prepare by talking to them about what to do if they get lost.

Teaching him or her the steps below and taking extra precautions can help your loved one if he or she gets lost:

  • Here are the big three: STAY CALM, STAY PUT, MAKE NOISE.
  • Do not panic.
  • Stop where you are and try to remember your route.
  • Re-think your steps.
  • Do you remember any of the buildings, signs, houses?
  • If available, use your cell phone to call 911 or home.
  • Have identification available.
  • Consider an Introduction Card (e.g., My name is David and I have Autism).
  • Look for a police car or a law enforcement officer.
  • Ensure the cell phone has the GPS mechanism activated.
  • If you are lost in a mall or shopping center, look for security or ask a clerk for help.
  • Ensure you have a small LED flashlight available at all times while traveling/walking.
  • Learn the positioning of the sun to determine approximate time/direction.

David Munday – Law Enforcement Consultant/BlueLine Advantage, LLC
Chris Lacey, President of Autism ALERT, Inc.

Who to ask for help

It is very important for individuals with autism to be able to advocate for themselves while out in the community. These self-advocacy skills include understanding how to ask for help if needed and knowing who to ask for help. The tips below address who to ask for help in an emergency or non-emergency situation. 

Ways to ask for help depend greatly on the circumstances surrounding the need for help


  • Say ”HELP” out loud, repeat if needed.
  • Move to a crowd (Safety in numbers).
  • Reach out to a law enforcement officer, fireman, teacher, or person of authority.
  • Speak to a Bus Driver.
  • Seek out someone with other children.


  • Reach out to a family member
  • Contact a friend

David Munday – Law Enforcement Consultant/BlueLine Advantage, LLC

Talking to strangers

Teaching children with autism about strangers is an essential and important part of helping to keep them safe. As they venture out into the community, either alone or with friends or family members, it is critical to teach them beforehand how to distinguish between someone who is safe to talk to and who is not.

  • Conversations should be limited or non-existent to potential strangers.
  • Keep your guard up.
  • Do not answer personal questions.
  • Be polite but reserved.
  • If you feel uncomfortable, walk away quickly.
  • If you feel threatened or in danger, run away.
  • Do not stand too close to stranger. Be mindful of personal space if a conversation happens to take place.

David Munday – Law Enforcement Consultant/BlueLine Advantage, LLC