Boy with autism wanders from home

Officer found 4-year-old on Beach Blvd. Wednesday morning

By Francesca Amiker - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A 4-year-old boy with autism wandered from his home Wednesday morning. A police officer spotted him on Beach Boulevard and reunited him with his mother.

The police report says the boy's mother was preparing the car and getting the boy ready for school. He managed to get away and walked out of his neighborhood to the travel lanes of Beach Boulevard.

"He indicated he lived with his mother and pointed to the nearby apartment complex, but he was not able to provide an address," according to the police report.

The boy's mother spotted the officer and was reunited with her son.

The Chief of Developmental Pediatrics at UF Health said parents of children with disabilities, like autism, can help prevent incidents like these.

"Kids with autism can frequently get in danger or trouble and they don't even know they're in danger because their motor skills are so much better than their language or judgement," said Dr. David Childers with UF Health.

Dr. Childers recommends parents do these three things:

  1. Get the child a medical bracelet with the guardian's phone number and child's full name
  2. Change the house locks to deadbolts since children with autism are sharp at puzzles
  3. Children with autism are attracted to water and parents should take extra precaution if they live around retention ponds

"Your language or the voice in your head is also your sense of judgement or danger. So whatever your child's language ability is that's where his sense of danger is," said Dr. Childers.

There are multiple resources offered at UF Health. Click here to view them.

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