Parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often worry about their child’s safety. Jenny Wise, mother to a child with ASD, shares some tips on keeping them safe and happy.
ASD and Safety: Keeping Your Child Safe
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a spectrum of complex development disorders of varying degrees of severity and effects, meaning there is no one way to manage a child with ASD.
However, there are a few common factors that can be impacting the safety of your child. If you are a parent of a child on the spectrum, here are a few tips for keeping them safe and happy.
Consider a Service Dog
Not many people realise that service dogs are used for disabilities of all kinds, whether physical or mental. ASD service dogs can be a huge help to families struggling with the disorder and its impact on their child. Going out in public with a kid who has ASD can be a huge safety risk for a number of reasons. However, a service dog can help families regain social lives and become a bigger part of their community.
A few of the tasks these dogs can perform, might include mitigating meltdowns, preventing the child from running away, and helping with emotional outbursts. Large dogs are used to tether the child to a harness, preventing them from running off, collapsing to the ground, or becoming too worked up.
The dog’s calm presence has been shown to relax kids with ASD and help shorten meltdowns. Many families cite their service dog as the reason their lives have improved for the better, helping their kids stay safe, make friends, and be happy.
Drowning is one of the top causes of death for children with ASD. Many parents don’t risk teaching their kids to swim due to sensory processing disorders or an aversion to water. However, it is very important that your child learns to swim with the heightened risk of drowning. You can encourage them by incorporating toys or games into the lessons.
With a specialised programme, a trained educator will be able to slowly introduce water and swimming to your child in a way that allows them to process the sensations and come to terms with the lessons. It can also be a great way to encourage your child to be more physically active.
ASD Safety Products
With the additional safety risks experienced by kids with ASD, there are a number of ASD-specific safety products available, such as shoe safety tags and family ID cards. Fingerprint and DNA files are also very useful items to have in the event of an emergency!.
There are also home safety products such as refrigerator locks and toilet lid locks. If your child experiences difficulties with communication, you may also want to consider army-style tags or medic-alert bracelets that alert others to your child’s condition.
Keeping any child safe can be challenging. However, for families with ASD children, it can be an even greater struggle. Kids with ASD are more at risk for drowning, running off, or generally making public outings more difficult. Fortunately, there are now more ways than ever to guarantee your child’s safety regardless of ability. Whether your family needs a service dog or just a helpful dog tag, there is something out there to help you and your child feel safe.
*Jenny Wise homeschools four children, and hopes to connect with other homeschoolers, especially educators and parents of special needs children.
Image via Pixabay by eLaba