Wandering is the tendency for an individual to try to leave the safety of a responsible person’s care or a safe area, which can result in potential harm or injury. This might include running off from adults at school or in the community, leaving the classroom without permission, or leaving the house when the family is not looking. This behavior is considered common in typical child development as toddlers, but it may persist or re-emerge in children and adults with autism. Making wandering even more dangerous is the fact that children and adults with autism have challenges with social and communication skills and safety awareness.
Wandering may also be referred to as Elopement; Bolting; Fleeing.
Inquire with your insurance company about whether they cover some or all of the cost. Prepare the following information when submitting a request to insurance companies:
PRESCRIPTION: You can also speak to your family doctor about getting a diagnosis for wandering. We have a Sample Doctor Letter with Wandering Code your doctor can personalize attached below; this may help you with the insurance company requirements.
The National Autism Association has two free resources for both families and educators:
Codes to personalize for your diagnosis:
• Autism F84.0
• Mild Intellectual disability F70
• Moderate Intellectual disability F71
• Dementia F03
• Alzheimer’s G30.9
Wandering codes: V40.31 or Z91.83
Other Codes to use for devices/systems:
• X5012 Personal Emergency Response System (HIPAA Compliant)
• S5160, S5161, S5162 Personal Emergency Response System (CPT/HCPC)
• S5160K, S5161HK Health & Safety Welfare
• E1399 Durable Medical Equipment & Other
• F84.0 Augmentative Devices (GPS tracking device) due to Autism wandering in diseases classified elsewhere Z91.83
A medical diagnosis code in the ICD-10-CM Code Z91.83 was been approved by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in October 2011. Caregivers of those at risk of wandering should discuss this diagnosis code with their physician. Official diagnosis may assist with insurance coverage for safety equipment and strengthen requests for implementation of safety-related strategies and accommodations in a student’s IEP.
Autism Society Options Policy
This Resource Guide was developed to provide families and professionals with an opportunity to find resources related to autism in the Inland Empire in one place.
All information provided or published by the Autism Society Inland Empire is for information purposes only. Specific treatment, therapy or services should be provided to an individual only at the direction of the individual’s doctor, caregiver, or other qualified professional. References to any treatment or therapy option, program, service, or treatment provider are not an endorsement by the Autism Society. References of treatments, therapies, programs, services, and/or providers are not intended to be comprehensive statements. You should investigate alternatives that may be more appropriate for a specific individual. The Autism Society assumes no responsibility for the use made of any information published or provided. The Autism Society Inland Empire provides information, but it does not constitute medical or legal information. Referrals provided are suggestions to organizations that might help, but do not constitute a recommendation. The Autism Society Inland Empire cannot be held responsible for consequences that arise from individual dealings with a professional or organization. The inclusion of any organization does not imply endorsement, and omission does not imply disapproval. The Autism Society Inland Empire may add or remove organizations from this list at its discretion.