Former Oriole BJ Surhoff has been an advocate for families struggling with autism. His family even founded a local autism group called Pathways.
Surhoff says one terrifying experience as a parent of a child with autism was when his child wandered off.
But studies show his son isn't the only child with autism to wander off, it's actually fairly common.
Researchers with the Interactive Autism Network at Kennedy Krieger Institute surveyed more than 1,300 families.
Around 49% of them reported their child with autism tried to wander off at least once after the age of 4.
The Cleveland Clinic says parents should consider taking precautions.
"It might be a door alarm, for example, so putting alarms on the major doors of the house so that if the child were to wake up in the middle of the night, or even in the middle of the day, if the parent was distracted or making dinner or lunch, then child opens the door and the door alarm goes off and the parent becomes aware they are leaving the house," says Dr. Thomas Frazier from the Cleveland Clinic.
Complete findings for this study are in the Journal "Pediatrics."