As travel restrictions lift post lockdown and children are allowed to be out in public, it is crucial for us to ensure their overall safety in the community.
Some safety concerns for children when they are out in the community include:
Some children on the spectrum have the tendency to wander off or dash off and bolt, and it could be very dangerous.
1. Communicate expectations from the start
3. Game plan
4. Adult supervision
5. Practice learned safety skills
Objective: to prevent our children from bolting or dashing off from us
* It is recommended to start this programme in one neutral room, before gradually generalising this skill to other rooms and places, using the same skill breakdown.
Stage 1: Introduction
To keep your child successful with a small achievable goal, begin with having your child walk for just 5 steps first in one room. In a room with only 5 steps to accomplish, begin by holding your child’s hand. You can then fade back your prompt by holding your child’s elbow/wrist before gradually moving on to holding your child’s shoulder and finally letting your child walk on his/her own.
Child is expected to walk more steps and to do so more independently. You can follow the similar breakdown to gradually fade off your physical prompt (placement of your hand).
Stage 3: Generalisation
Child is expected to practise the same skill in different rooms or areas of the house, before moving this practice outside the home.
It is recommended for adults to wait gradually longer durations before giving the reward when the child successfully follows and does what is expected. This is to teach the child to tolerate waiting for the adult to come to them before they can continue walking (Kay, 2020).
Download our Safety in the Community checklist from our website and assess your child’s safety skills in community settings.
You may also add on any concerns you have observed that may not be on the list.
Identify the key skill you would like your child to learn, and begin teaching immediately!
1. Kay, S. (2020). Teaching children with autism about safety. Expert Columns: Teaching Children with Autism About Safety. Retrieved January 1, 2022, from https://www.mayinstitute.org/news/acl/asd-and-dd-child-focused/teaching-children-with-autism-about-safety/