Nearly half of children with ASD between the ages of 4 and 10 bolt, wander or elope

The autism community uses many terms to describe the fact that children and dependent adults with ASD depart safe spaces to put themselves in harm’s way. A mother might say her son “is a runner” or that he “bolts” when they are in public places. A father might say his daughter “wanders” or “elopes.” It’s difficult to name the behavior because we know so little about it. Is it aimless, or are these individuals trying to reach a place or person? Is it motivated by fear, sensory-sensitivity, boredom, or curiosity? Is the person who wanders scared, joyful, or in a fog? How many individuals with ASD engage in this behavior, and to what lengths are families going to keep them safe? Until now, there were few evidence-based answers to such questions.

Of children with ASD who attempted to elope, nearly half actually succeeded and were missing long enough to cause parents significant concern about their safety. The situations were serious enough that 32% of parents in this situation called the police. Furthermore, two out of three reported their wandering child had a “close call” with traffic injury, and almost a third reported a “close call” with drowning.

Children with ASD have many behaviors that families find incredibly stressful, including self-injury, rigidity, aggression, and meltdowns. How did those whose children engaged in elopement behavior compare the stress involved to that caused by other challenging behaviors? More than half (57%) reported that elopement was the most, or among the most, stressful of ASD behaviors. Fear that a child would escape their home during the night disrupted sleep for more than 40% of these families. Likewise, fear of elopement kept 62% of such families from attending or enjoying activities outside the home, increasing social isolation.

GTX Corp (OTCBB: GTXO), the leader in customizable, 2-way GPS location based tracking solutions has been granted another utility patent, adding to the company’s growing IP portfolio that includes 11 issued patents, 5 patents pending and 34 U.S. and 28 foreign patents under its license. The multi-patented GPS technology platform will also soon serve as the foundation for products designed to help the millions of families affected by autism, as a result of a new partnership between GTX Corp and Talk About Curing Autism (TACA).

“With our award winning multi-patented GPS Smart Shoe and patent-pending Alertag we have been at the forefront of connected health for years, providing new levels of functional oversight, security and peace of mind to a variety of audiences and needs,” commented Patrick Bertagna, CEO of GTX Corp. “We look forward to developing and bringing to market new, innovative products that both satisfy the ever-increasing consumer demand for location based solutions and that will help support the families challenged with a special needs child.”

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