Professionals say, "Children with autism wander off all the time."
POSTED: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 10:27am
UPDATED: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 3:23pm
Tyler, Texas — A Behavioral Specialist at the Treatment and Learning Center (TLC) for Children with Autism, talks about one of her students—Luke a 2-year-old who has Autism Spectrum Disorder, she says, " As soon as he sees something that kinda catches his eye, he just takes off for it and the next thing you know you look back and he's gone."
This is common with people who have autism.
In recent months you have heard two stories about two different children who reportedly wandered off, and were later found dead.
Jacob Kimbley, the the 2-year-old autistic boy from Winona, whom police and families say ran off into a wooded area near their home, and was later found dead in a septic tank.
And more recently, Evan Reed, the three-year old —who also had autism, that allegedly wandered off and was later found in lifeless in Lake Palestine.
According to professionals, children with autism wander off all the time, it's called "Eloping."
Whitney Clements, Behavioral Analyst from TLC says, "About 75% of children with autism have 'eloping behaviors,' which means they either run off for attention, to escape something—or they just run off because of impulse control."
She says it happens fast,"Our kids are not physically disabled like some other kids with disabilities so they just take off, and they can be gone in a minute."
Children with autism don't have any concept of fear or danger,Clements says, "The awareness to what danger is and what fear is and what could happen if they run outside the door —our kids don't have that awareness inside of them"
The parents of Jacob Kimbley and Evan Reed were scrutinized on Facebook about not watching their children. People on Facebook left comments saying things like, "I'm sick of reading about children dying, why don't parents just watch their kids."
Alison Sterken, Divison Director for Autism Outreach at the Andrews Center in Tyler says, "I think it's extremely easy to judge a parent who has a child with autism spectrum disorder because it's impossible to know what it's like unless you are a parent."
To learn more about Autism Spectrum Disorder you can visit: http://http://www.tlcaba.org/