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sunshinescj
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04 Feb 2018, 11:25 pm

Hi all,
I have a question for those who wander. I know that it is common behavior for those on the spectrum but outside of a way to escape certain sensory input why do you all wander? I'm in the process of being evaluated for ASD but I have a physical disability so I couldn't really elope if I wanted to. I watched a Youtube autism family describe it as a compulsion: something that cannot be reasoned with and that no punishments/rewards would work for. Is it like stimming in that way? If it isn't for sensory reason does it just happen because some with ASD don't understand danger. I do some feel the need to go fast but I feel like that can be an NT thing too, so I'm trying to better understand the reasons behind wandering. Thanks!



auntblabby
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04 Feb 2018, 11:31 pm

are you talking about cheating on one's mate?



kraftiekortie
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05 Feb 2018, 11:29 am

I doubt it.

There are many "lower-functioning" autistic people who "wander/elope." "Eloping" is a health care term for wandering away from a caretaking situation (e.g., hospital, home, parents' hands, etc.)

I feel most people "elope" because they are in a situation they don't want to be in. They want to "escape." Sensory sensitivity could be very much at the bottom of why autistic people sometimes elope.

Many people with dementia elope because they experience certain delusions---such as a spouse being alive, or living in a home which doesn't exist any more. They want to be with that "spouse," or they want to go back to that "home."



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05 Feb 2018, 12:43 pm

For me it was curiosity.

When I was three, every night on the news, I would see the reports of the Vietnam war, with army people loading their dead and wounded into helicopters. One day I saw a couple of those same type of military helicopters flying over the mountain behind my house. I wanted to visit the army people and ask them questions, so I climbed the mountain. I made it to the top of the mountain (about 700 feet up and a mile away). I could see my house below me on one side, and wilderness on the other. I did not see the helicopters in the wilderness valley. I was thirsty, hungry and disappointed. I went home and no one ever noticed I had been missing.

A couple of weeks later, my mother left us with a friend in the city, while she went to take care of adult things. I was playing in the backyard, and I kept seeing military helicopters fly over. They were going lower and lower like they were landing. (Later I found out there was a marine base nearby). I escaped the yard, and wandered down the street on my tricycle. I was picked up by the police, two miles from my babysitters house. I was very close to the base. I refused to talk to anyone at the police station. Several hours later, my mother returned to discover me missing. She called the police and we were soon reunited. The police accused my mother of neglect and abandonment, but found out it was the three babysitters watching us kids that failed.

I was watched very carefully after that. Most people were afraid to babysit me. Besides wandering off, I was notorious for asking questions. Babysitters claimed my questions made them feel foolish or uneducated. I still love to travel and discover new places.


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SteveSnow
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05 Feb 2018, 12:59 pm

I'm very much a wanderer but there is never really a solid reason I do it. It's just a compulsion that comes on randomly and the longer I ignore the desire the less I'm able to function. It's caused insomnia as well as a serious decline in cognitive functions. I also can't focus or enjoy anything.

I've started to keep track of activities to see if there is any pattern to cause the desire to wander but so far there is no pattern that I'm able to see.


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sunshinescj
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05 Feb 2018, 1:02 pm

auntblabby wrote:
are you talking about cheating on one's mate?

No I wasn't. I was referring to what Kraftie said. Also Mudboy, your response was interesting.



kraftiekortie
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05 Feb 2018, 1:10 pm

Yep....Mud Boy gave us a most interesting and fascinating narrative. I was not as creative as that.

When I was 10, I sort of became fascinated by my bus driver who drove us kids to school. I was a lonely kid, and I thought the bus driver could be my "second dad." So I followed him home one day, and looked in his window. It was about 5 or so miles from my home--a long distance. I took a cab back home. Cabs weren't that expensive in 1971.

My mother had no idea where I was; she was quite worried. I didn't understand why, back then.



Mudboy
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05 Feb 2018, 1:44 pm

Wanderlust. I don't think imagination had much to do with it. Just desire and opportunity. After I got a bicycle, at age 9, my mother gave up her vigil. I had my freedom. I don't know how many times I traveled to strange places. I had a folding map, and traveled as far as 30 miles from home to visit other parks, libraries, and landmarks. By age 11, I was not looked for until breakfast.

Like kraftiekortie, at age 10, I wanted to visit school faculty. When I was 10, two of my private school teachers took us on a field trip to a state park near their house. They made the mistake of taking the class by their house because they forgot something. A few months later, I rode to that park, (10-15 miles) and ended up stopping by their house for a break. They were boyfriends and it was awkward, so I quickly left. Did you see your driver?


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kraftiekortie
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05 Feb 2018, 1:53 pm

Yep. And he saw me, too.

He was nice about it---but made it known that his private time was his private time.



Si_82
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05 Feb 2018, 5:21 pm

When I was a child and that happened I think it was a fight or flight response kind of deal to stressful and confusing situations, usually where I felt afraid of teachers because of some escalating situation.


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06 Feb 2018, 8:21 pm

Mudboy wrote:
Wanderlust. I don't think imagination had much to do with it. Just desire and opportunity.
Allow me to add solipsism to the list. When I did my wandering as a child, in retrospect, it was very solipsistic, almost like a first-person video game. I lived in as small town until age 10, where it was OK for a kid to walk to places alone. I was the only "real" character; city streets and buildings were levels to explore, animals and objects in the streets were interactive items, and other people were non-playable characters. It absolutely never occurred to me that some of those people could have been wandering too, and not just "there".

I suspect it was exploration-type video games that planted the idea of wandering in my mind. Despite my parents' usual strictness, they didn't object to them. I guess they preferred that I wander in a video game, rather than in real life.



naturalplastic
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07 Feb 2018, 5:14 am

auntblabby wrote:
are you talking about cheating on one's mate?


It does seem like folks on WP HATE to be actually understood! They so often fail to explain the terms they use.

You would think that the OP would know that even on an autism website most folks only know the term "elope" in it's common context having to do with marriage. And you would think that he would explain his unusual medical jargon use of the word in his original post. But I guess that would take away from the fun! Who wants folks to actually know WTF youre talking about! Lol!



auntblabby
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07 Feb 2018, 5:36 am

or it could be that, like myself, they sometimes struggle to find the right word and often have to settle for a "lightning bug" word, as mark twain useta say.



blazingstar
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07 Feb 2018, 5:42 am

naturalplastic wrote:
auntblabby wrote:
are you talking about cheating on one's mate?


It does seem like folks on WP HATE to be actually understood! They so often fail to explain the terms they use.

You would think that the OP would know that even on an autism website most folks only know the term "elope" in it's common context having to do with marriage. And you would think that he would explain his unusual medical jargon use of the word in his original post. But I guess that would take away from the fun! Who wants folks to actually know WTF youre talking about! Lol!


Elope is commonly used among the autism community to mean just what the OP stated. The common definition of elope is to run off and get married, especially younger people running off without parental consent, and elope has then been extended to young people (or developmentally disabled people) running off without caregiver consent or knowledge.


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