Another great article from Time magazine:

A Little-Known Problem in Children With Autism: Wandering Away

I’m glad the mainstream media is picking up on a lot of the issues surrounding autism. I have worked with children with autism who had a tendency to bolt, and it’s beyond scary for the family and the professionals working with them. One young boy even had moments when he would try to jump out of a moving car, and run down freeway embankments towards oncoming traffic.

I know the panic I feel in my heart when I lose sight of my daughter for even a moment at the library. It is exhausting for families who have to deal with it all the time. In the moment, words often do not work with these children. I can get down face-to-face with my child and there’s some level of understanding that mommy is not joking about walking away. But often parents of children with autism have to run after their child, grab them, or even tackle them (a larger child) to keep them from hurting themselves or dashing into traffic.

As a parent, it helps to recognize and be aware of all the children around you. You never know when another child might need your help.

3 thoughts on “Bolting

  1. Lindsey Corey says:

    We just got a new student on Monday who is autistic and in a regular classroom for the first time. He has spent most of the last three days bolting/wandering whenever he was able (along with a lot of yelling and swearing). His teacher is beside herself, worrying about his safety, etc… I will definitely pass this along to her and others working with him. At least so they know this isn’t a unique situation, and can look for some more ideas.


    • kidscommunicate says:

      Lindsey ~ If he’s in a regular ed class, he probably has some language to use. I would try social stories (the SLP can help develop them) around walking away. I have found that the underlying cause is often anxiety, and I wonder if his yelling/swearing/bolting are signs that he is anxious about his new classroom situation. She could also try introducing a “quiet spot” where he can go when feeling overwhelmed. He may need a lot of scaffolding at first to use the spot when his anxiety is heightened, but eventually he may be able to better regulate his behavior. Just some thoughts, good luck!


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