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.


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


The National Autism Association has two free resources for both families and educators:

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.

The Autism Society Inland Empire Autism (ASIE) maintains these Resource Listings as a service to families as a reference tool. Every effort is made to ensure listings are up-to-date. ASIE does not endorse or claim to have personal knowledge of the abilities of those listed. The resources listed are not intended as a recommendation, referral, or endorsement of any resource or as a tool for verifying the credentials, qualifications, or abilities of any organization, product or professional. Users are urged to use independent judgment and request references when considering any resource associated with diagnosis or treatment of autism, or the provision of services related to autism.