Kids with high-functioning autism or Asperger's eventually grow up. As they do, they become more independent, and they spend more time in the community. While you applaud your child's independence, you still want to keep them safe. Here are some fun ways to focus on safety in the community without instilling fear or panic in your autistic child.
Retro Reflective Tape and DOT Reflective Tape
Cars are the biggest reason why pedestrians and bike riders are hit, injured, and/or killed each year. The foremost rule of thumb is to never wear dark clothing, but sometimes, that is an impossible rule to follow. If your child will only wear black, or consistently wears only dark colors, you need to rethink this situation like any other parent of an autistic kid would do.
Enter the retro reflective tape manufacturers. These folks have got this figured out. This kind of tape can not only be applied to trucks and other vehicles, but you can also just as easily apply it to clothing. Your kid can put any color on his/her bike, and apply the tape to sweat pants, jeans, a safety vest, his/her coat, etc. He/she can choose from silver, red, orange, or yellow, too. When you buy rolls of these kinds of safety tape, you can come up with all kinds of fun and easy ways to signal to drivers that a pedestrian/bike rider is up ahead and that drivers should slow down.
A Communication Device
A basic phone is always a good idea. Walkie-talkies would be nice, but most of those on the market do not work within city limits because of all the buildings obstructing the radio signals. Your preteen/teenager needs a way to call for help or call home when the sun is setting.
If the phone has a dark-colored case, you could use more of the reflective tape to make this device readily visible. In the event that a police officer stops your kid and your kid reaches for his/her phone, there is no way a highly-reflective phone case can be interpreted as a gun. The tape would protect your child from an accidental shooting while continuing to provide a means of communication.
Ground Rules for Going Out
While your child would not need reflective tape just for going out, you can still make it part of the ground rules. He/she would need to wear something reflective, carry a phone with reflective tape on it, ride a bike with reflective tape on it, and always, always tell you where he/she is going. Set time limits, too.