Last night, a missing child with autism post came through my feed. My heart dropped, because the last three that went through my feed ended with the child being found dead in a body of water, having wandered off and drowned. Luckily, in this latest case, the child was found – cold and wet, but alive.
Children with autism are notorious for wandering towards water. Water is such a sensory thing, and heck, for me, being next to a body of water is just calming, so I can see why these children get there, get too close.
So what can YOU do if a child with autism goes missing in your town?
Own a pool? Check it. Doesn’t matter if it’s January and snowing out. Go check your pool if you have one. So what if you have a six foot fence around it – kids can scale a fence easily.
Live on a pond? Get neighbors together, check the pond, then monitor it until the child is found.
Live on a creek of any sort? Check the creek. Walk up and down the banks a little. Call neighbors, ask them to do the same.
Live behind a park? Check the swings.
Actually spot said child who’s been missing? For God’s sake, don’t run up arms wide going “Oh! I found you Johnny! Let me give you a big hug!” You’re liable to get head butted. Instead, call the cops, then stay near the child. Don’t scare him off. Instead, maybe pull out your smartphone and announce “I’m going to watch a video. Who wants to watch a video with me?” Ten to one, the kid will be breathing down your neck in 35 seconds. My kid would, and she doesn’t have autism. If the child is lured by the video watching, sit on the ground, be less intimidating, wait for police. If the child walks off, just walk a few feet behind him, let the police know what direction you’re going in.
And as a parent of three “normal” kids and one easy one, lol, these tips are good for when ANY child wanders off. Check water. Keep eyes open. Don’t scare them off.
This has been a Public Service Announcement from me 😀
Note – this is NOT about why a child with autism may wander, okay? It’s not about bad parenting. If it is, well, I’m a bad parent.