Monday, December 07, 2009

Harsh Autism Reality in Nova Scotia

Canadians are hoping right now for the safe return of 7 year old James Delorey, the non-speaking autistic boy who wondered from his Cape Breton home Saturday afternoon before snow and wind conditions picked up.

I have some idea of the fear and other emotions the family of this boy are feeling right now. In a 2006 comment on this site, Vigilance, Constant Vigilance I described the terror I felt , for a brief period, when my autistic son Conor went missing while I was occupied on a business phone call. That situation could have turned out badly but he, and I, were fortunate as a good Samaritan stopped and helped him across a busy street to a convenience store where I was able to retrieve him after calling 911.

I hope beyond hope that it turns out as well for young James Delorey and his family. Autism has many wandering children. It is one of the gravest dangers and harshest realities faced by autistic children and their families. It is an autism reality that the world needs to hear about.

Let's all hope for a Christmas miracle and James Delorey's safe return.




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12 comments:

farmwifetwo said...

I've had mine go missing 3 times here on the farm. Once, we were putting up the canopy in the yard and turned our backs... Once I was in the bathroom... Once dh was on the phone...

Atleast ours were only 20min nightmares... Those parents must just be devestated.

Autism Reality NB said...

"Atleast ours were only 20min nightmares... Those parents must just be devestated."

You are absolutely right. My thoughts are with them.

jonathan said...

When Katie McCarron was murdered by her mother, neurodiversity blamed everyone who wanted a cure for autism on her murder.

When autistic children who wander off and then get killed or accidentally drown, there are usually no tears or mourning from the ND crowd. An incredible double standard

jypsy said...

This past January, Alex and I gave a training session to PEI's Ground Search & Rescue. It was a *very* productive session. We allowed lots of time for questions and answers and, because there were 2 members there who had autistic grandchildren, both very different from each other and from Alex and his brother, we were able to answer each question in so many ways from so many different perspectives. We had a copy of Dennis Debbaut's First Responder DVD to show them (though it hadn't actually been released at the time) and they will now have their own copy (we bought more than a dozen for PEI First Responders) to show at training sessions and have for a refresher if they ever find themselves in a situation like this.

Currently one of PEI's members, who attended that training in January, is living in NS temporarily and involved in the search.

I would certainly urge parents and/or autism organizations to be pro-active in this matter. Meet with your local Ground Search & Rescue team and see what you can do to make sure they know what they need to know before they're thrust into a situation like this.

My thoughts too are with his family, his friends and his community.

Autism Reality NB said...

jypsy, you and Alex, and Mr.Debbaudt have done some great work on these issues.

Anonymous said...

Gee, I wonder if Estee Klar would include a horrible situation like this in the category of "the beauty of autism." The ND crowd makes me sick. They clearly are in such deep denial regarding their own situations that they can not see just how far reaching the horrors of autism can be.

Barry Hudson said...

Hi Harold,

CBC reports the search has been "scaled back". I have a friend down there partaking in the search. There has been a dedicated sincere community effort to help. The weather conditions have made it very difficult to search – having lived in that part of the world I know first hand that such storms eliminate visibility and snow blows over tracks very quickly. My prayers are with the family.

navywifeandmom said...

Looks like he has been found; he is alive and on his way to the hospital:

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/nova-scotia/story/2009/12/07/ns-delorey-monday.html

Claire said...

Is there not a device that children who tend to elope wear (like a bracelet) that helps authorities to track them down? My friend has one for her daughter who has Down's and is a consummate runner. Is that something that would work for your children?

navywifeandmom said...

Claire, they actually do make these devices but I know there is no way my own daughter would wear one. She has horrible sensory issues involving clothes and even Band-Aids are not tolerated by her. We were in the ER one time with a really nasty stomach bug and the nurses were annoyed that she would not keep the hospital bracelet on. I told them that there really was not anything I could do about it, that you could distract her until you were blue in the face but bottom line she would remove the bracelet over and over again.

We are fortunate that she is not as bad as she was when she was a toddler when it comes to wandering. She seems to have a sense of "stay with my parents" that was not there a few years ago. Our biggest problem now with taking her out is she tries to grab other people's food.

Claire said...

Thanks for answering Navywifeandmom. I thought that would be the issue with some autistic children. You know, you can't take me out either...I tend to want other people's food....

Toby said...

My condolences go out to the Delorey family.
I do a lot of work on keeping children with ASD safe including research, trainings and workshops.
One of the products available helping to keep those who have the tendency to elope safe is Project Lifesaver. It is a locating bracelet a child wears, and it has saved many lives.
Some children are sensitive to wearing the bracelet, but through desensitization programs they will wear them (and they aren't removable).
Hopefully some good comes from this tragedy - in awareness of the issues, and education in how to keep children safe.