School is out, the sun is shining and it is that time of year when we all begin to think about planning some downtime – maybe a family vacation, neighborhood BBQ or a fun day at the beach! Having a safety plan is always important, especially because incidents of wandering tend to increase when the weather gets warmer and families start to change their routines.
Autism Speaks wants to remind you about the resources available and advice to follow to keep your loved one with autism safe this summer and all year round - including our swimming scholarship fund, tips to prevent wandering, resources for first responders and much more!
Swimming and Water Safety Scholarship Fund
Autism Speaks makes grants to local organizations via its Swimming and Water Safety Scholarship Fund program. To date, 93 programs providing swimming and water safety lessons have been awarded up to $2,000 to distribute scholarships to financially disadvantaged individuals with autism!
The application for this scholarship fund is open year-round and funding is awarded on a quarterly basis. Encourage swim programs in your area to apply now!
Learn more about this program and check to see if there are recipients in your area here!
Safety Tips from Our Community
We reached out to the Autism Speaks community and asked for tips and tools used to prevent wandering. We got some great feedback and wanted to share it with everyone!
For example, Olivia said "Look at things from the child’s sneakiest perspective."
Click here to read the tips!
Six Tips to Help Prevent Wandering
From AWAARE: Autism Wandering Awareness Alerts Response Coalition
- Secure Your Home
- Consider a Locating Device
- Consider an ID Bracelet
- Teach Your Child to Swim
- Alert Your Neighbors
- Alert First Responders
Read more about each of these tips and how to implement them here!
Safety Tools You Can Use
If your loved one with autism is prone to wandering, it is important to have a multi-faceted safety approach, no matter your setting. Here are some safety tools, products and forms to help you get started right away!
- Family Wandering Emergency Plan (FWEP) Template
- First Responder Alert Form
- Big Red Safety Tool Kit: A Digital Guide for Caregivers
- Social Stories for Safety
- Autism Safety Resources and Products
- AWAARE: The Autism Wandering Awareness Alerts Response and Education Coalition
For more safety and wandering prevention resources for families and first responders, visit autismspeaks.org/wandering-resources.
If your child is participating in an Extended School Year (ESY) Program, this list of 7 Steps to Prevent Wandering at Your Child's School can help keep your child safe during the school day.
Autism Speaks Autism Safety Project
The Autism Speaks Autism Safety Project is designed to provide families affected by autism with tips, information, expert advice and resources so that everyone in our community can stay out of harm's way. Sections include: safety in the community, safety in the home, abuse, information for first responders and more.
Click here to visit the Autism Safety Project web portal!
Working with First Responders
A multi-faceted approach to safety includes the family of a person with autism who wanders working with local first responders on an ongoing basis to prevent wandering and respond effectively, should an emergency occur. These resources will provide more information for first responders:
- Lifesaving Autism Training for First Responders
- Big Red Safety Tool Kit: A Digital Resource for First Responders
- Autism Speaks Provides Grant to Project Lifesaver International
- Autism Speaks and NCMEC Provide Autism Safety Training for NYPD
See a complete list of our wandering resources here.
Do you have concerns about your child or are you looking for additional safety information or resources? The Autism Speaks Autism Response Team is happy to help!
Call us at 888-288-4762 (en Español 888-772-9050) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!