Robert Capovilla, right, is reunited with his family Sunday night, a day after the autistic teenager went missing, prompting a huge police search. Aunt Margaret Saracino and father Adriano Capovilla reach for Robert on his return home.RICK MADONIK/TORONTO STAR
The Toronto Star reports an autism story of danger and family fear that ends on a happy note with the safe return of Robert Capovilla:
"The shy 16-year-old, diagnosed with autism and whose mental capacity is more like that of a child of 8 or 9, had been missing for more than 24 hours. In the biting cold.
Robert wandered away from his Mississauga home around 2 p.m. Saturday — a highly uncharacteristic move, says his mother, Maria. He had last been spotted at a McDonald's on Dundas St. W."
The Star reports that a large scale effort including public notices and searches by friends, family and police had been under way. The Toronto teen had left his Mississauga home and had made it all the way to downtown Toronto before being spotted by a Toronto Transit employee.
Many parents with low functioning or severely autistic children have experienced the fear of their child going missing, including me. As we know from the sad story of James Delorey who was lost in a Nova Scotia snow storm and didn't recover from the effects it does not always end well. In Toronto today Robbie is home, he is safe and healthy. His family, as seen in the Toronto Star photo above, is very happy. Many parents, particularly many parents of autistic children who have lived through a similar experience, will share their joy.