TIP of the WEEK: Running Away
January 22, 2016
There is nothing more frightening than checking on your child who was just in bed, playing in the yard or sitting in the living room and discovering that they have wandered off or run away. Many parents deal with this very dangerous behavior frequently. Here are some things to do if your child likes to wander:
1. The escape artist. Some children are downright Houdini’s at getting out despite the best locks and alarms. For these kids you may want to consider a GPS tracker, although I have known kids who can remove these from their wrists and ankles despite the claim that this is not possible. For these kids you may want to look at trackers that can be placed inside of shoes and/or jackets, hats or any other favorite clothing item. Be sure not to tell them that it’s in there!
2. Getting lost. Some kids simply get distracted and wander off. GPS can be helpful for them as well but may not be necessary because they are less likely to try to hide from you. For these kids be sure to alert neighbors, police, and local merchants of the possibility of this and leave your number with them.
3. Frustration burst. If your child runs as a way to escape being over stimulated or angry make a space for them in your house that is just for this reason; a closet with blankets and pillows on the floor or a space behind a couch in a less frequently used room. Anywhere that they can go to be alone and undisturbed. The key is a place to escape to. Don’t bother them while they are there, let them come out on their own.
There are so many dangers to a child with PWS when they run away. Lessen those dangers by communicating your child’s needs to everyone who may come in contact with them and ask your local police department for help in creating a safety plan.
Patrice Carroll is Latham Centers’ world-renowned Prader-Willi Syndrome specialist. She works with Latham Centers’ residents with PWS, their families and consultants, continuously learning and teaching about PWS best practices.