Healthy Kids     Health Guide    

New, Much-Needed Medical Code for Autism

"wandering" as a medical diagnosis code will help autistic individuals

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has approved a new medical diagnosis code for wandering. Individuals with autism, intellectual disabilities, and related conditions are more prone to wandering, which exposes them to potentially harmful and life-threatening dangers. The new code is listed as V40.31 – wandering in diseases classified elsewhere.

“It is our hope that the recognition of wandering as a medical diagnosis will bring opportunities for the development of resources including training for schools and caregivers, emergency search personnel protocols, financial assistance for safety equipment and support and education for families,” said Lori McIlwain, the board chair of the National Autism Association.

Health care professionals can start to use the new code in October in medical records. The CDC wants to gain better data with the new code to understand the prevalence of this behavior. Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are noted for affecting an individual’s social, behavioral, and communication skills. ASDs begin in childhood and can last throughout a person’s lifetime. Individuals who are prone to wandering need extra care to monitor them. Behavioral intervention early on is needed to help the individual lessen these behaviors and make progress.

Learn the warning signs of autism.


The National Autism Association conducted an online poll and 92 percent of parents said that their autistic child had a tendency to wander. Exposure to the outdoor elements, drowning, and other factors put the individual at risk for an injury or death. Speaking with your health care provider about your child’s behavior and what resources there are can help turn the situation around. It is also advised to speak with a qualified special needs attorney to learn about and access much-needed resources for your child.


Littman Krooks LLP counsels families with special needs planning. Our New York City, White Plains or Fishkill Special Needs attorneys can assist with Medicaid planning, special needs trusts, comprehensive estate planning, and special education advocacy matters. In addition, our New York Special Needs Trust attorneys can assist clients with long-term care and asset preservation and protection planning for loved ones with disabilities that need around-the-clock care.


To learn more about New York special needs planning, visit, or