Wednesday, October 30, 2013

14 Year Old with Autism Missing for 3 Weeks and We Can Make A Difference

Avonte Oquendo 14 Missing

“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.” 
― Edward Everett Hale

Last Thursday, Ray Kelly New York’s City Police Commissioner told local news “Unfortunately, we are not hopeful that we’re going to find this young man alive, but we are continuing our search.”   Friday marked three weeks since Avonte Oquendo from Queens, N.Y., went missing. Avonte is nonverbal and was last seen on video surveillance footage running out the door of his school in Long Island City.

As a parent, of a child who is prone to wandering, and has to be watched 24/7 I know wandering by children with autism is common, dangerous and puts tremendous stress on families. I look at this boy and I see my son. I see all of our boys who are vulnerable. I don’t think there’s a parent on this planet who has not been frightened by a suddenly missing child, even if the child was just hiding in a clothing rack or sitting where we just didn't see them. In the second we don’t know where they are, we panic and in this moment we are all connected.  Thank God most of the time our children are okay. This is a families worst nightmare and by the grace of God few actually have to experience, still we all can relate. 

If you're like me your first question is how can I help?  I can pray and I can take action.  We can each take what ever action moves us. For me, looking at Avonte made me realize that the Nick of today, looks nothing like the Nicky of a few years ago. He's grown so much if something were to happen most of my neighbors wouldn't even recognize him!. The best way I can think of to support Avonte right now, right where I am, is to make sure I'm doing all I can to keep my son safe, and in doing so maybe others. The problem lies in the community and so does the solution. So I have committed to do the rounds in my community to re-introduce my son to my neighbors, local merchants and first responders.   I believe the world is full of more caring people, than dangerous ones. I'm certain the more of the caring ones I can reach, the more who know Nick on site the better chance I have at building a safety net in my community for Nick.
Please join me!

P.S.: It’s a big problem with no simple solution. I did find an extensive collection of wandering resources on the Autism Speaks. Just know that there is a lot to sift through. I hope you find something that fits your family.

No comments:

Post a Comment