I am going to write this in two parts. Part one is my personal story of having a child who wanders. Part two will be information about what can be done to help curb wandering though nothing is foolproof.
Wandering it can happen to anyone. That's why I don't understand when a child wanders and just happens to be autistic one of the first questions NT parents ask is where were the parents? Like it could never happen to them, well I got news for you it can. I told the story of losing Roger here. He used to wander away in stores but now that he is older he tells me where he is going and yes he has a cell phone attached to him.
My wanderer is my "normal" kid. Really Porkchop is known for just wandering off. Something or someone gets his attention and he is off.Have I mentioned he's a hemophiliac too. So yeah first thought is the kid is bleeding somewhere. The first time he was three or four. I had gone to the bathroom (thats all it takes) and he was sleeping on the couch. Well he woke up and I was not there. He assumed I went to the bus stop to get his brother and sister. Out the door he went to walk to the bus stop which was half a block away.
I wasn't there of course so he kept walking. So while he is out on his walk. I am tearing the house apart looking for him. At first I thought he was hiding he likes to do that. He is also the worst hide and seeker ever he can't stop laughing. I called my husband and he said keep looking, I called him back and said he's not in the house, not in the yard, he is nowhere. So he left work and flew home. As he was driving down the street he saw one of the other moms who just happened to work from home walking down the street with him.
She told us that he had come to her house two blocks away and down a busy street. I mean people flew down our street like it was a highway. He crossed it. Apparently one of the elderly ladies was going for a walk saw him and just followed him for a while to make sure he didn't get hurt. He took her to the other moms house and said my friend lives here. The lady almost didn't answer her door but decided to see who was there and saw porkchop with some old lady. The other mom tried to get him in her car to bring him home but he refused to get in the car so she walked him home. That was a very long hour for all of us. The police were called but by the time they got there he was back.
That's not the only time he has done it. In the house we currently live in he has wandered off twice in the past year. The first time was right after we moved in and he saw some kids playing down the street so he went to play he just didn't bother to tell anyone where he was going just hopped on his bike and off he went. The other time he went to a friends house. I knew where he was going but the friend couldn't play and on the way home another kid caught his attention so he went there instead of home.
We have a creek in my yard so yes when one kid goes missing it's the first place I check. Does my child wandering off make me a bad parent, no. No one can stay on their kid every second of everyday and all it takes is half a second and they are gone. It can happen to any parent autism or not.