Every year I feel like I hear more stories of children with autism who have wandered away from their families. It’s often one of the most-scariest feelings in the world when that situation occurs. Instantly the trigger kicks in and it becomes a time where families start alerting law agencies, neighbor watch, and their friends and family members to help in the search for their child.
The issue I constantly see is when a parent receives criticism for not doing a better job of protecting and watching their children. Often times the interrogation begins and these parents are asked why you didn’t do this or why you didn’t do that… How they would never let their child get into that situation to begin with.
My bottom line whenever I hear someone make a comment like that is simple..
Never criticize anyone until you know all the facts.
Being a parent to a child with autism can often be a 24/7 job. You support them and you become their champion for supports. Until you’ve walked in the shoes and understand that child as well as that parent does you don’t do anything by criticizing them during a time like this. The important thing to do is find the child.
When they go missing it becomes imperative to find them as soon as possible. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children for example who are the nation’s clearinghouse on issues related to missing and sexually exploited children do their best to assist families and law enforcement agencies of the missing child to help find them. New technologies are also being built everyday which focus on safety for families between smart homes to wearable tracking devices so you know where your child is at all times.
While I never went missing before in my life, I was prone to bolting during my first few years of adolescence growing up on the spectrum. Each individual is different but today this cause is near and dear to my heart. Every life is precious and studies have shown that almost half of all individuals with autism are prone to wandering today.
There is still so much more we can learn out there in the world about how to protect our loved ones. When the time comes though, please don’t criticize. Help explore ways with them of getting things back on track.
Be safe and show love during both the good and bad times we all have. I pray for the safety for our families often and always.
If you are looking to learn more about this subject you can find free resources at The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s website here.