Safeguarding Your Child with Autism:
Strategies and Tools to Reduce Risks


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Written by Jack Scott, Ph.D., BCBA, Bairbre Flood, M.S.Ed., Dennis Debbaudt, Kyle D. Bennett, Ed.D, BCBA-D, and Toby Honsberger, Ed.D., BCBA-D
isbn 978-1-60613-005-6 / 2020 / Paperback / 6″ x 9″ / 330 pages / Appendices



No parent likes to think about their child being hurt, but alarming statistics indicate that parents of children and teens on the autism spectrum need to pay careful attention to the risk of unintentional injury.  In fact, research shows that children with autism are twice as likely to sustain a serious or fatal injury as their typically developing peers. 

Safeguarding Your Child with Autism, written by experts for parents and professionals, describes the scope of safety issues, how the presence of autism contributes to an elevated risk, and the strategies and tools which can be used to minimize the hazards and consequences at home, school, and in the community.  Most importantly, the book offers a prescriptive focus on teaching children how to be safe with special emphasis given to elopement (wandering), and how to assess and treat for this especially risky behavior. 

It covers proven instructional approaches—direct teaching, role play, modeling, and experiential learning—which incorporate effective teaching strategies such as predictability, prompts and reinforcement, and visual supports. In addition, the book describes numerous useful devices and technology from alarms to monitors to trackers.   And it offers essential advice on how to proactively collaborate with law enforcement and first responders.

Written by Jack Scott, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Bairbre Flood, M.S.Ed., Dennis Debbaudt, Kyle D. Bennett, Ed.D., BCBA-D, and Toby Honsberger, Ed.D., BCBA-D

Jack Scott is an associate professor in the Department of Exceptional Student Education at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) and the executive director of the FAU Center for Autism and Related Disabilities, or CARD. His work centers on individual instruction for children with autism, police training in autism, elopement issues and autism, and safety from unintentional injury. He serves as the chair of the Autism Society of America’s Panel of Professional Advisors and as a member of the Board of Directors.

Bairbre Flood is the principal of the Potentials School at the Arc of Palm Beach County, a school for children with special needs in Riviera Beach, Florida. She presents nationally on ASD in topics including safety, instructional methods, and family support.

Dennis Debbaudt is the parent of a young man who has autism, an author, a law enforcement trainer, and a producer of autism safety training videos and curriculum for law enforcement and first response agencies. His materials are in use by NYPD, Chicago Police Department, and the US Department of Homeland Security, among hundreds of agencies in the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom.

Kyle D. Bennett is an associate professor in special education at Florida International University. His work focuses on preparing teachers and related services providers to educate students with disabilities. His current research interests include combining behavior analytic strategies with mobile technology to increase the independence of people with autism and other developmental disabilities.

Toby Honsberger is the executive director at The Learning Academy at The Els Center of Excellence, a school for students on the autism spectrum in Jupiter, Florida. He is published in peer-reviewed journals and speaks nationally and internationally on the topics of safety of individuals with ASD and vocational training.