Wandering or Elopement is the term used when an Autistic individual leaves a designated area without notification or permission.
In other words, they take off.
Have you have ever lost sight of your child in a crowded place like a store or playground? Then you can get an idea of how stressful this can be for a parent. My Boy, well he will ‘wander’ anytime from anyplace. Even my own home or yard. At 2 years old he climbed over a 6 FOOT tall fence in a matter of just seconds.
The struggle is real.
We had some heavy rain here and my driveway was quite literally a little river. The kids were having a BLAST playing in the water – my Boy included! Then the Baby wanted me to help him get a boat to float in the ‘river’, so we went inside. I helped him grab a few army men and a little boat; but when I came back outside – guess who was GONE. I mean I was inside for less time than it takes to go pee for crying out loud!
He only ‘wandered’ up the hill to my dad’s house. But he was out of my sight and since I went in the opposite direction to look for him – ya know I checked the road first – I had ‘lost’ him for longer than I was comfortable with. When you don’t know where your child is minutes seem like hours. Your mind thinks up the worst scenarios possible…
Did he head to the pond?
Go to the road?
Get lost in the woods?
It’s hard, really hard. Kudos to all you mommas out there who deal with this everyday and are able to keep your child safe. Please, to keep your sanity, make sure you pass that torch to someone else once in a while.