Potential participants were identified through the California Department of Developmental Services (DDS). Both identical and fraternal twin pairs were eligible to participate if they were born between 1987 and 2004, and at least one twin was reported to have an ASD diagnosis. A total of 1,156 twin pairs were identified through the DDS, however, due to limited participation from families, only 202 twin pairs were included in the study. All participants received comprehensive diagnostic evaluations to confirm diagnoses of autistic disorder or broader ASD.
A common misperception of elopement is that it is caused by parental negligence and that parents need to keep a closer watch on their children. On the contrary, parents of individuals with autism are often extremely vigilant and take extraordinary measures to keep their child safe.