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Community Resources

Children with disabilities (including autism spectrum disorders (ASD), Down syndrome, ADHD and anxiety) wander for a number of reasons, including seeking out a special place or item, escaping from undesirable situations or because they have become disoriented or lost (read more).

Children of even the most watchful parents can slip away quickly when they are motivated wanderers. According to a study by Pediatrics Magazine, parents and caregivers of wanderers  regularly sacrifice family outings, meals and even sleep to keep their children safe, yet 49% of study participants had a child who had wandered at least once in the past four years.

Even with constant vigilance, motivated wanderers can find a way to get out. When that happens, an educated community is that child's best chance of returning home safely.

You can improve a child's chances of returning home safely if you remember three steps:

Donate a Kit

Connecting for Kids has been able to make a limited number of free wandering safety kits available to our families with the help of a generous donation. To help us reach more families with these kits, please consider donating $20 or more today.


STOP

Stop and ask the child if he or she needs help.


SEEK

Seek assistance from local law enforcement.


STAY

Stay with the child until police arrive.

NOTE: The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children also offers a Stop, Seek, Stay video, available for sharing through YouTube.

Additional Resources

The following resources are also available to first responders:

Resource Offered By Use
Wandering Community Education Poster
Connecting for Kids
Provides information on why individuals with special needs wander, how wandering can be dangerous and what the community can do to help.
Big Red Safety Toolkit National Autism Association/AWAARE Includes checklists and other information to help first responders search for missing children with ASD. Portions of this kit are also applicable to different disabilities, including the first responder checklist, first responder tips and first responder notification form.
Special Needs Addendum National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Includes protocols for gathering information, conducting a search and reuniting a missing person with disabilities with his or her caregiver.
First Responder Brochure National Autism Association/AWAARE Provides information on behaviors commonly seen in individuals with ASD and tips for interacting.

Note: While wandering behaviors occur across numerous diagnoses, the majority of information published to date focuses on autism-related wandering. Despite the fact that many of the resources here are from autism organizations, the principles can be applied to a variety of different diagnoses.

Call or email:

Phone: 1-440-250-5563
Email: info@connectingforkids.org

Address:

P.O. Box 45372
Westlake, Ohio 44145

Copyright 2015-2016, Connecting for Kids of Westlake

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