Autism risks and statistics explained - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Autism risks and statistics explained

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LA PORTE CITY (KWWL) -

According to autism experts, wandering and elopement behavior is a big concern for children on the autism spectrum.

It's important to note, we don't know whether 16-year-old Jake Wilson wandered away, but experts say it's common behavior for children with autism.

Experts with the National Autism Association are also following Jake's story, and they encourage authorities and families to first search for bodies of water, depending on their behavior.

According to a national study, children with autism are nearly four times more likely to wander away from a safe place, than their unaffected siblings.

From the beginning, La Porte City police and Black Hawk County Sheriff's deputies have been reviewing that information to try and better understand where a child with autism might be.

"We do rely on the the statistics. What are they drawn to? Where do their tendencies take them? That's what we're focusing on, and that's where we're trying to expand," La Porte City Police Chief Chris Brecher said, earlier this week.

Experts say children with autism are often drawn to water, paths, highways and even train tracks sometimes.

Many parents who have children with autism have reported close calls with traffic injuries and drownings.

According to the National Autism Association, accidental drowning accounts for 91 percent of children, 14 or younger, with autism.

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