Another great article from Time magazine: A Little-Known Problem in Children With Autism: Wandering Away http://healthland.time.com/2011/04/13/a-little-known-problem-in-children-with-autism-wandering-away/
I'm glad the mainstream media is picking up on a lot of the issues surrounding autism. I have worked with children with autism who had a tendency to bolt, and it's beyond scary for the family and the professionals working with them. One young boy even had moments when he would try to jump out of a moving car, and run down freeway embankments towards oncoming traffic.
I know the panic I feel in my heart when I lose sight of my daughter for even a moment at the library. It is exhausting for families who have to deal with it all the time. In the moment, words often do not work with these children. I can get down face-to-face with my child and there's some level of understanding that mommy is not joking about walking away. But often parents of children with autism have to run after their child, grab them, or even tackle them (a larger child) to keep them from hurting themselves or dashing into traffic.
As a parent, it helps to recognize and be aware of all the children around you. You never know when another child might need your help.