While ther may be many reasons for this, in my practice I have noticed three main variables. The first is impulse control, which was discussed durng the previous post. The second is knowledge of potential dangers and their signals. While it is important not to assume that the individual knows the potential dangers and warning signs, this is knolwdge that can be taught and shared with amny people with ASD. The third, and perhaps the most innate variable to Autism is awareness. Awareness is essential not only for receiving information, but for making sense of it an acting upon it as well. People with overly sensitive nervous systems have difficulty with awareness because being fully aware can overwhelm the system, so lack of awareness is sort of a defense mechanism. However, just like with other behaviors and experiences, awareness can be gradually encouraged and increased through exposure and coaching.
The easiest way to increase awareness is to begin with everyday routine activities, particularly ones that the person finds pleasurable. For example when taking a walk, instead of having a conversation or thinking of an unrelated thought, encourage the person to focus on what they see, hear, feel, or smell. At first you may only want to bring awareness to one sensory experience at a time and the total time of awareness may only be a few seconds or minutes. Additionally you may need to provide an incentive since the person may have to stop engaging in thoughts related to a person interest in order to become more aware. Once engaged in the awareness, have the person relate to you what they are experiencing. This will force the conscious mind to be more active and gradually strengthen neural connections that promote awareness. Awareness can also be increased by overtly talking about current activity, rather than just doing it silently and passively. This can be done with a variety of sensory and active experiences.
With continued practice over time, you will notice awareness gradually increase. With increased awareness, it becomes easier for information to taught, retained, and brought back into consciousness when needed. While building awareness, it is important however to respect the person with ASD's need/desire to have time when they can lost conscious awareness and drift into their own thoughts. It allows their nervous system to recover from the increased awareness, but also allows them to generate the elaborate thought which makes their life fulfilling for them. The goal is not 100% awareness, but rather a situational awareness that can be turned on and off when needed. That will allow for greater independence and effectiveness in situations where caution is needed thus resulting in being to keep one's life out of 'check.'