Thursday, August 14, 2014

Safety Kit for Parents of Children and Youth with Autism

We are all aware of situations via the media where children with autism wander off from their parents, programs and places. Sometimes this behavior has tragic results as in the case of Avonte Oquendo, a teenager with autism who liked to run and was able to leave the school building he was in. Unfortunately, wandering behavior resulted in the death of this young man.

For families affected by autism, having a safety plan is always important and the organization, Autism Speaks, the world's leading autism science and advocacy organization, has risen to the occasion by providing to parents and caretakers of individuals with autism, the "Big Red Safety Box." This is a valuable tool designed to educate, raise awareness and share simple tools that can assist in preventing, and responding to, wandering-related incidents.

The Big Red Safety Box contains educational materials, such as a caregiver checklist, a Family Wandering Emergency Plan, a sample IEP letter that can be used to implement prevention and response protocols in school, along with safety products, including two GE Door Alarms, one Who's Shoe ID, and five laminated adhesive stop sign visual prompts for doors and windows.

The Autism Initiative Program of Sinergia has received a number of these safety kits that have been distributed to families of children and youth with autism. If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity, please contact:

It is very important to note that if you have a family member who experience behavior that interferes with their ability to recognize danger or stay safe, it is critical that you maintain close supervision and security in all surroundings and situations. For more information and ways to prevent wandering-related incidents, please visit You can also find additional resources at:

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