CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) – After a 16-year-old autistic boy’s family reported him missing on April 7, many have spent hours searching for him.
Tanager Place Autism Program Supervisor Blake Stephenson said it could be difficult to find missing children with autism. He said it is important to be mindful the person and their unique set of needs.
“Sometimes an individual on the spectrum or with a developmental disability might wander away or they might not know where they are. They could get lost very easily,” Stephenson said. “If they’re not able to tell a stranger that they’re lost, or need help, that could just kind of continue for the entire time as well.”
Stephenson said remember communication differences and sensory needs are also important. Some children may not be able to speak, and others may be sensitive to noise and light. He said people should keep that in mind if they encounter a missing person on the spectrum.
“If you happen to approach somebody that happens to have a disability or Autism really keep the exchanges short and concise. Try to use very simple language, if you are giving commands or asking them to do something, really do them one at a time. Really account for them to process things in a different speed,” Stephenson said.
He also suggest using Home Again CR. It is a database for authorities and first responders. It allows users to put in a name, picture, traits, needs, and more. Then authorities have an overview of the person as they go out on a search. It can help them locate a missing person in a safe manner.
To sign up visit this website.