Brief Report  |   November 2013
Safely Transporting Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder: Evaluation and Intervention
Author Affiliations
  • Janell Yonkman, MS, OTR, is Occupational Therapist, National Center for the Safe Transportation of Children with Special Healthcare Needs, Riley Hospital for Children, Indiana University Health, 1120 South Drive, Fesler Hall 207, Indianapolis, IN 46202; jyonkman@iuhealth.org
  • Bryanna Lawler, MS, OTR, is Occupational Therapist, National Center for the Safe Transportation of Children With Special Healthcare Needs, Riley Hospital for Children, Indiana University Health, Indianapolis
  • Judith Talty is Program Director, National Center for the Safe Transportation of Children With Special Healthcare Needs, Riley Hospital for Children, Indiana University Health, Indianapolis
  • Joseph O’Neil, MD, MPH, is Co-Medical Director, National Center for the Safe Transportation of Children With Special Healthcare Needs, Riley Hospital for Children, Indiana University Health, Indianapolis
  • Marilyn Bull, MD, FAAP, is Co-Medical Director, National Center for the Safe Transportation of Children With Special Healthcare Needs, Riley Hospital for Children, Indiana University Health, Indianapolis
Article Information
Autism/Autism Spectrum Disorder / Pediatric Evaluation and Intervention / Departments
Brief Report   |   November 2013
Safely Transporting Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder: Evaluation and Intervention
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, November/December 2013, Vol. 67, 711-716. doi:10.5014/ajot.2013.008250
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, November/December 2013, Vol. 67, 711-716. doi:10.5014/ajot.2013.008250
Abstract

OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to investigate transportation practices of caregivers who transport children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

METHOD. We reviewed documented transportation evaluations of children with ASD. The evaluations were conducted by pediatric occupational therapists at an outpatient center of a large children’s hospital.

RESULTS. A review of 82 charts of patients diagnosed with ASD revealed that 74% of children with ASD were escaping their child safety restraint. More than 20% of parents reported that their child demonstrated aggressive or self-injurious behavior during travel, affecting not only their own safety but also that of others in the vehicle, including the driver.

CONCLUSION. Escaping from a child restraint can be a life-threatening problem among children with ASD. Parents, caregivers, and health care professionals should be aware of services available from trained therapists, certified child passenger safety technicians, or both to maximize safety during personal travel in the family vehicle.