It’s happened to us twice.
Once when my middle son was just shy of two. We found him twenty feet from a river.
The second time was when he was six. I had my first ever full-blown panic attack. He was safe the whole time, but while I looked for him, I had no idea.
Those were easily the most terrifying moments of my life. I couldn’t even reread my posts about those events because I could feel a panic attack coming on.
As vigilant as parents can be, kids still wander off when we do something like blink.
As much as we want to think that while our kids are at school, they won’t be able to leave, it can still happen. Until the staff at my son’s school all learned who he was and to watch for him to get to his class, I walked him in so he wouldn’t somehow escape out a side door in the morning rush. But even though they all know him and he hasn’t tried to leave in a long time, I know it could still happen.
My friend Lisa shared facts on Autism Spectrum Disorder and elopement including that it’s almost half of kids with ASD who will attempt to elope from a safe environment(a rate four times higher than their unaffected peers). You can click over to her post to see more facts and resources.
My family got lucky. My son was okay, we found him before anything happened to him. But I know that it easily could have gone the other way. It’s gone the other way for far too many kids.
So, I’m joining in the Candlelight Vigil for Autistic Children Who Lost Their Lives After Wandering.
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