Autism and the escape artist.... -

Autism and the escape artist….

~Autism and wandering go hand in hand. A very dangerous combination~

I have an escape artist on my hands. I have written about this before but up until now Emmett has never “escaped”. Emmett John has gotten out of the house 3 times over this past weekend. We have 3 locks on the front door plus an alarm system. What Emmett does is unlocks the door and simply runs. We are spread pretty thin and so, at times, my attention is elsewhere. He has learned to exploit these lapses in “security”. I’ve gone out several times to get new “baby” proofing things. The problem is that I need to “Emmett” proof things.

The resourcefulness of an almost 3 year old with Autism is UNBELIEVABLE.

When he sets out to accomplish something he sets out to accomplish something. This is one of the reasons I want to get the yard completely fenced in. I feel like it would be a last line of “defense”. My fear is that he will get out and wander or run away. We don’t live in the best neighborhood but honestly even if we did this would still be a HUGE concern. I know I need to be WAY more vigilant but it’s really tough trying to stay on top of everything. This obviously needs to be a priority. I’m actually really scared by escape skills. I have started arming the alarm during the day. The moment ANY outside door is opened the alarm goes off the the location or rather what door was accessed goes out over the alarm pad as well. For example, if he goes out the front door, the alarm will sound and a voice will say “front door”. It’s not a perfect system but at least it’s something.

Special needs parenting to a child with Autism is never easy. You always have to be at least a few steps ahead of them. Not always an easy task especially when have 3 children with Autism.

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John AW Richardson J

I am an adult with autism and I share your pain with small choldren who escape and get out on thier own. Some tips from an Emergency Services Provider. 1. Have thier Names Sewn into thier Clothing, 2nd Have a Pictured handout that you can give to the neighbors and the Emergency Services Before you need them to act. 3rd Im sure your doing all you can with 3 boys on the spectrum you have your hands full. I am also offering to provide your Emergency Services with a Training Course that Specifically Addressees the need of an Autism Patient. Send me an E-mail at and we can get things started for the positive.


I sm also having trouble keeping my little escape artist indoors. Bathroom breaks bathing during the day and cleaning while he is awake is an impossible and now dangerous feat. Not many people understand and assume because he escapes my apt whenever I am tending to my other child that he is simply neglected. He learned how to pick our locks with things as simple as a pen cap at the early age of 18 months and recently discovered how to unlock windows and remove the bottom portion of the screen to get outside. And all it takes is 1 minute. I have ended up putting my son on medication which has lowered his escaping skills to about once a week but have now had cps called on me because he ran out while we were all asleep at bedtime my friend found him within 5 minutes and brought him home to me as I was asleep and thought he was as well. I’m running out of options as far as keeping him inside. If anyone has any ideas or info on teaching an autistic child to not go outside without supervision please let me know 🙁 I’ve had to begin drinking energy drinks day and night leaving a tiny window for sleep to keep him safe and indoors.

Sincerely. Exhuasted and scared.


Please send me an email and let\’s brainstorm some ways to increase safety. In fact, I think that will be the this weeks Friday Forum. We\’ll try and come up with ideas. Hang in there.

Lost and Tired

Looks awesome. Their funding has run out so they are currently not available… I'll keep checking back.. Thanks


Have you thought about a service dog? I know they are expensive, but I know that at least one group will help you fundraise for it instead of just paying for it. Just a thought if he does escape.

Lost and Tired

Thanks for the ideas. It's challenging to say the least but we can circulate our ideas between us and maybe stay ahead of the curve.


We have an escape artist too. Still waiting for Project Lifesaver in our community but you can try shoe tags (sold in running stores) and ID jewelry. Also a trial run where you let him go and see what he does. following at a distance that you can grab him if he is in danger but get a sense of what he’s going for. This might help if he does get out, you’ll have a good guess what direction he’s headed.
I can tell you that now, at age 5, we are far less worried about a break out. Biggest worry now is that he’ll go out the window trying to re-einact AstroBoy.
Just when you get a handle on one thing, they come up with something new…


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