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November 04, 2005


Renee James

My 9 yr. old son suffers from Autism, Sensory Integration Disorder, ADHD, Depression with Manic Eposides, Anxiety, an Immune disorder, Asthma, Chronic Lung disease and JRA. First, he eloped but only was able to get to the end of the hall. Second, he ran down a few hallways and was stopped at the second set of doors exiting the building. Lastly, he eloped on a cold Feb. day with no coat on and I found him knocking at my back door. (We live a block and half from the school). The school insists they can keep my son safe and meet his needs even though a neuropysch and an hospital inpatient therapist have suggested a theraputic day school. What do I do next? Please help.

Ed. Insist on a good FBA/BIP and a crisis plan to keep him in the building and under close watch. Request that all staff have walkie-talkies or other means of reliable communication.

Paulette Kelly

I have a 12 year old son with autism with elopement issues in school and while out. I can not get his school to do a formal FBA on why he is eloping. There is no BIP in place.The teacher says she is taking data but there is nothing more done to address it. Their remedy is to attach an elastic cord to his belt loop and use that while walking in the school building or outside. I have even found it attached to a table leg in the classroom in the free time area. I was livid when I found my child tied to a table like an animal! I am in the process now of trying to find out my rights since I did not sign a consent to using the restraint nor did I agree for them to allow him to be tied to a table. They have not tried any type of behavior plan to address the problem or take the time to teach him not to elope. They do have a crisis plan in place but parts of it are ineffective, ie. there is a door alarm on the classroom door but I have found it turned off on numerous occassions. They do not have a 1:1 asssigned to him which I am fighting for. They inconsistenly use reinforcement systems with him using a token board so he will go a whole day with no reinforcement or positive behavior to praise him when his behavior is good that day.
What can I do. I have a meeting this month to try to address these issue.

Barbara R

Unfortunately, even with skilled teachers and staff, a solid FBA and a comprehensive BIP (or several, in succession), some children -- our daughter included -- still have elopement issues. Our daughter has autism and mild to moderate developmental delays. She has occasional explosive episodes. She is 15 years old and is physically fit and very strong. She attends a public special education school; her teachers and the school staff are highly educated and very experienced -- and they really care about every child in the school. Our daughter likes her school and her schoolmates, always does her homework, and studies to the best of her ability, most of the time without being pressed to do so. We have identified some triggers for her elopement and her explosive behavior, but quite often one or both behaviors will occur without apparent provocation, and our daughter, herself, says she does not know why she does what she does some of the time. After she "comes down" from an episode, she will often sleep for several hours. Her EEG appears normal. Her psychiatrist is stumped, but we continue to analyze our daughter's behavior and responses as we work with her to create a social/educational structure that meets her emotional, cognitive, and academic needs. It's a challenge.

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