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Children with autism tend to wander, often leading to tragedy

One symptom that many people who are not raising a child with autism may not be aware of is wandering. Children on the autism spectrum or living with other developmental disabilities often have the tendency to run away from home, school or another safe place.

Any young child who gets lost could easily get into trouble, and unfortunately many kids with autism will struggle even more to stay safe. Sadly, these wandering incidents often end in tragedy. The Autism Safety Coalition says that 42 percent of autistic children under age 9 who wander end up passing away.

One case involved a slightly older boy named Avonte. He was 14 when he went missing from school one day in 2013, and his remains were not found for months. In his honor, Congress is considering Avonte’s Law.

The bill would provide federal funding to local law enforcement to improve their wandering prevention efforts. It would also pay for free electronic tracking devices for developmentally disabled children at risk for wandering. Advocates like the president of National Autism Association believe “it’s time for federal action,” Disability Scoop reports. She pointed out that resources are already in place to help those living with Alzheimer’s disease stay where they are safe.

Raising a child with special needs has its own rewards and challenges. For many parents, paying for necessary therapy, treatment and equipment can be very difficult. These families may qualify for Supplemental Security Income, also known as SSI. An SSDI attorney can help explain in greater detail.


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