Janell Yonkman, Bryanna Lawler, Judith Talty, Joseph O’Neil, Marilyn Bull; Safely Transporting Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder: Evaluation and Intervention. Am J Occup Ther 2013;67(6):711-716. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2013.008250.
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© 2019 American Occupational Therapy Association
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.
This study may help increase awareness of resources available to families with children with ASD experiencing behavior issues in vehicles.
The subject of transportation safety in family vehicles should be added to the occupational therapy curriculum.
Community-building partnerships can help ensure that families’ child safety seat needs are being addressed.
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