There is nothing more heartbreaking than hearing a story of a child going missing in an area where personal locating technology is available and the child is not on the program. Many parents tell us that while their child is at extreme risk of wandering/eloping, they have not utilized safety items like personal locating devices and ID or medical bracelets because their child has sensory issues and they don’t believe they can get their children to wear them.
While many of our kids understandably do not want to wear a wristband, helping them to overcome their aversion can literally mean the difference between life and death in the event of a wandering incident.
Some parents have had success using the following technique:
- Start with a comfortable wristband that is not tight on the child’s wrist and wear one on your own wrist as well
- Place the wristband on your child for just 30 seconds, offer enthusiastic praise, and then remove it
- Continue to use this technique, slightly increasing the time worn each time
- Use rewards or motivating reinforcements (favorite toys, snacks, activities) to encourage your child to wear the wristband. It may also be helpful to use a timer or show a visual countdown so your child will know when the wristband will be removed.
- Be consistent – this process could take days or weeks
- Use Social Stories or pictures to get your child acquainted with the wristband
- Have other family members wear the wristband (if possible, adhere an image of your child’s favorite character to the top of the wristband)
- If color options are available, give your child a choice of which band they’d like to wear, “red or blue?”
- Use first/then to prepare your child — “First we put on the wristband, then we (list preferred activity)”
Above all, make this process fun for your child, and most importantly, don’t give up!