Wandering in People on the Autism Spectrum

Wandering in People on the Autism Spectrum is a best practice resource for those caring for people on the autism spectrum.

The Office of Professional Practice within the Department of Health and Human Services collaborated with AMAZE (formerly Autism Victoria) to conduct research and develop this resource for parents, carers and staff.

The resource is intended to support families and carers with practical guidance when caring for people who wander, and how to engage professional support when required.

How this resource helps

  • Find out why people on the autism spectrum wander.
  • Discover best practice strategies to prevent or reduce the risk of wandering.
  • Learn how to get help to prevent people from wandering.

It also explores important considerations if using restrictive interventions to prevent wandering and provides advice on what to do if someone on the autism spectrum goes missing.

The resource is not designed to replace professional guidance - a critical component of applying any of the strategies or suggestions contained in this resource is that they are done with the assistance of professionals who can help determine the most appropriate evidence-based strategies for each particular person who wanders.

Wandering in People on the Autism Spectrum: contents

  • What is wandering?
  • People who wander
  • Wandering in people on the autism spectrum
  • About this resource
  • Why people on the autism spectrum wander
  • How to prevent wandering
  • Positive Behaviour Support approach
  • Determining the function of the behaviour
  • Teaching new (replacement) skills
  • Developing a Behaviour Support Plan
  • Getting help for wandering
  • Restrictive interventions to reduce wandering
  • A note on GPS devices
  • Some practical strategies
  • Engage the community
  • Engage the police
  • Create a Community Information Sheet
  • Create a map
  • Easy identification
  • Locating a missing person
  • References
  • Appendix A1: Guidelines for Seeking Police Assistance
  • Appendix A2: Voluntary Disclosure of Personal Information to Police
  • Appendix B: Example Community Information Sheet

Download the resource

Visit the AMAZE website to download Wandering in People on the Autism Spectrum.

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