Autism is a diagnosis that represents many symptoms and behavioral tendencies, some of which can lead to serious health and safety risks including death. In 2008, Danish researchers found that the mortality risk among the autism population is twice as high as in the general population. In 2001, a California research team attributed elevated mortality among people with autism in large part to drowning. Drowning, prolonged exposure, and other wandering-related factors remain among the top causes of death within the autism population.
Other contributing factors include death by asphyxiation as the result of improper restraint. In May, 2009 the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) completed its nationwide investigation into the use of restraint & seclusion in public schools. The result of its findings concluded that no federal laws were in place to keep educators from using dangerous and abusive methods to restrain or seclude a student.
To learn more, please visit NAA’s newest resource for the community, http://www.AutismSafety.org for information on Wandering, Restraint & Seclusion, Bullying and Suicide Prevention.