I’m still looking up information as news reports from the NYPD about the missing 14-year-old boy with autism. He was not found as reported 6 days ago.

If anyone in the 5 boroughs of New York sees a non-verbal boy matching his description, call the tips hotline at 800-577-TIPS immediately. 

I received a petition request about a project which claims to have a 100% success rate in tracking over two thousand missing cases of people with autism or Alzheimer’s who wander. I thought it might be helpful for people to understand “wandering” first as it relates to people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

“WANDERING DEFINED

Wandering is the tendency for an individual to try to leave the safety of a responsible person’s care or a safe area, which can result in potential harm or injury.  This might include running off from adults at school or in the community, leaving the classroom without permission, or leaving the house when the family is not looking.  This behavior is considered common and short-lived in toddlers, but it may persist or re-emerge in children and adults with autism.  Children with autism have challenges with social and communication skills and safety awareness.  This makes wandering a potentially dangerous behavior.” (Source: The AWAARE Collaboration, http://awaare.org)

The AWAARE Collaboration website has free Safety Toolkits to download for caregivers and emergency responders and other materials developed by the National Autism Association. For more information about AWAARE, which stands for Autism Wandering Awareness Alerts Response and Education and is a working group of six national non-profit autism organizations, visit their website. Their mission is to prevent autism-related wandering incidents and deaths.

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