A day in the life of a single mom raising a teenager and a child with autism. I believe that it's not what we receive, but what we give away that defines us. I want to give away all that I have learned and experienced in hopes that it will help families raising a child with autism or any disability. This is my candid journal where I open up my world and share my joys, knowledge, lessons, disappointments, challenges, frustrations, fears and successes - one day at a time.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Avontes Tragic Death May Save Other Children with Autism
Danny Oquendo Starts Law School on Mission to
Become Legal Advocate for Autistic Kids
Danny Oquendo is determined
to become a lawyer and fulfill his mission of helping children with autism. http://www.nbcnewyork.com/video/#!/news/local/Danny-Oquendo-Starts-Law-School-on-Mission-to-Become-Legal-Advocate-for-Autistic-Kids/272259521
Avonte Oquendo's older brother is set to begin law school this
week, part of his mission to become a legal advocate to help children with
autism in the wake of his brother's death.Danny
Oquendo, 27, passed the LSAT six years ago and is finally starting New York Law
School this week, inspired by Avonte.
The autistic boy disappeared last October after he ran out of his
Queens school unsupervised. After a months-long search that gripped the city,
were found in the East River near College Point in January.
( Video obtained by NBC 4 New York shows 14-year-old Avonte
Oquendo bolting out a door left open by an adult at his Queens school the day
he disappeared. Pei-Sze Cheng reports.---)
The city's medical examiner ruled that the cause and manner of
Avonte Oquendo's death could
not be determined. Oquendo said the loss taught him a painful
but valuable lesson. "You shouldn't wait for something
bad to happen to pursue those dreams because you could be the person that stops
that from happening," said Oquendo.He now wants to become a legal advocate for
children with autism and to make sure they are "placed in the right
programs, making sure they're being watched after carefully, and that if
there's any wrongdoing done, they have legal representation."
Oquendo's mentor, Gary Mayerson, started the country's first law
firm focused on autism cases. The two met when the firm offered a reward to
"The more and more we talked, it became obvious he wanted to
go into this area and represent children with special needs, which was so
admirable," said Mayerson.
The family's push for change has already helped to get Avonte's
Law passed earlier this month, aimed at making schools safer
for kids with special needs.
Oquendo's dedication to giving a voice to children with autism and
families of children with autism became clear when he
wrote a blog post on the website Autism Speaks in March.
In it, Oquendo recalled the terror and grief he felt following the months
of Avonte's disappearance. "Picture in your mind having a loved one
who does not possess the ability to communicate effectively. Now imagine this
loved one lost in the biggest city in the world, alone, cold, hungry, afraid or
worse," Oquendo wrote."How
you’re feeling right now is just a fraction of the pain we endured for the
months following Avonte’s disappearance. Not knowing whether we would see our
beloved Avonte again ate away our souls," he said.
Oquendo said in the blog he was determined to never let another
family experience the same tragedy.
"While we may never know what exactly happened to my younger
brother, what we can do is help to avoid this tragic event from happening
again," he wrote. "The waves created by this catastrophic incident will
ripple through time forcing immediate change to the current security standards
of schools across the country, starting with the ones here in New York."
Oquendo said he believed change is possible because he witnessed
just how quickly and tightly New Yorkers banded together in their mission to
find Avonte, calling it "one of the most inspiring events to ever occur in
Oquendo is set to take an internship at Mayerson's law firm next