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Candlelight Vigil for Autistic Children Who Have Lost Their Lives After Wandering

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Today the autism community has decided to honor those children that have lost their lives after wandering.

 

vigil

 

This event is a virtual candlelight vigil to remember and respect the lives of autistic children who have died after an elopement.

The Kennedy Krieger Institute reported in a 2011 study that up to 48% of all children with autism will engage in wandering behavior or “elopement,” which is defined as the tendency to leave a non life threatening space and enter into a potentially dangerous one, and is a rate 4 times higher than their neurotypical siblings.

The Krieger Institute also reported that “35% of families with children who elope report their children are “never” or “rarely” able to communicate their name, address, or phone number by any means.”

In 2012, the National Autism Association reported that “accidental drowning accounted for 91% total U.S. deaths reported in children with an ASD ages 14 and younger subsequent to wandering/elopement.”

This vigil is being organized to spread awareness of the very real issue of wandering behavior in autistic children and the unspeakable tragedies that can, and have occurred as a result.

Please join us in respectful remembrance of the children who have died.

Information compiled by the organizer, Jill Smo, of Yeah. Good Times.

Kaitlin Bacile
Au-Juna Banks-Taylor age 9
Ryan Barrett
Christian Baucom age 6
Jason Baucom
Adam Benhamama
Owen Black age 7
Aiden Bower age 4
Ashley Brock
Noah Burke
Carolyne Burns
Dena Burns age 6
John Burton Jr. age 7
Colum Canning
Kaymania Catt age 5
Alex Christopher 6/3/2005
Zachary Clark
Jeremiah Conn age 6
Holden Cottingham 2013
Taariq Cross age 7
Christian Dejons
James Delorey
David DeSantiago age 11
Devonte Dye age 5
Tatiana Eiland-Clinton age 3
Devine Farrier
Justin Gore Jr.
Darryl Gosein
Anthony Guerra age 9
Tristian Guffey
Liam Hamilton age 7
Elizabeth Hathaway age 10
Savannah Hauser
Benjy Heil
Jack Hensley
Emily Hope
Drew Howell age 2
Tristin Jeras 7/26/2012
Aiden Johnson
Marquail Johnson age 8
Jackson Kastner age 4
Kesia Kearse
Nathan Kinderdine
Michael Kingsbury age 7
Adlai Kugblenu
Anthony Kuznia age 11
Bernard Latimore
Aiden Lawson age 3
Kieran le Couteur
Erik Lippmann
Alexie Loper age 4
Mikaela Lynch 5/15/2013
Charlie Manley age 16
Savannah Martin 2/20/2011
Donivan Martin age 16
Savannah Martin age 7
Jared McGuire
Mason Medlam
Logan Mitcheltree
Christopher Morrison age 5
Blake Murrell age 4
Alyvia Navarro age 3
Avonte Oquendo age 14
Dominic Overton
Ariana Pivacheck age 9
Evan Reed 2012
Hannah Ross age 7
Blake Ryan 4/19/2011 age 4
Christina Sankey age 29
Luke Selwyn
Nicholas Shaffer age 12
Kaleb Shavers age 6
Kadeem Shillingford age 15
Jonah Smith
Julian Stacey New Zealand
Aaron Steele
Travis Stratton 3/1/2014 age 4
Kaliya Sullivan
Sean Taglione 1/29/2012 age 12
Desmond Thomas
Kristina Vlassenko age 10
Christopher Wakeman age 23
Amarie Walker age 4
Skyler Wayne
Freddie Williams age 13
Davin Williams age 15
NNR age 5 Bradenton, FL
NNR age 11 Stafford, VA
NNR age 12 Houston, TX

90 children. These are the names we were able to compile on short notice, and is in no way comprehensive. The listings at the end with the initials NNR are children whose names weren’t released to the media.

 

Today is about remembrance. Please use the above photo as your social media avatar and share this day with us. Let today be the day that we stand together and quietly remember those we have lost.

The Loss of a Child

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When the message went around last week that today was the day to post in support of Mikaela Lynch‘s family, and others who have lost children to elopement, I quickly responded that I would participate. Then I spent several days turning the subject over in my mind, unable to come up with a coherent idea of what to write.

The truth is, I don’t want to think about this.

I don’t want to think about the fact that 49% of autistic children engage in elopement behavior.*

I don’t want to think about a third of those children being unable to communicate any information about themselves.*

I don’t want to think about parents having to lay their child to rest.

And I don’t want to think about the guilt and pain that those parents will feel, even though it wasn’t their fault.

And the fact that some very irresponsible people wrote horrible things about the family, suggesting they somehow did something wrong?  I don’t want to think about that, either.  BUT, you can click on the following image to send a message to the employer of a writer who was particularly hurtful to the family during the nightmare they endured.  It will not give any traffic to the writer whatsoever, but will allow you to email the employer and let them know that her actions were reprehensible.

Ethical journalists treat sources, subjects and colleagues as human beings deserving of respect. Journalists should: * Recognize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than public officials and others who seek power, influence or attention. * Show good taste. * Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity. * Use special sensitivity when dealing with children. * Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by news coverage. — (http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp)

If you are the parent of an autistic child, or are a friend or relative of one, please use and share these resources:

BRSTLogo

.

AWAARELogo400

My deepest sympathy and most heartfelt condolences are with Mikaela’s family, as well as others who have lost their child.  It’s simply an unimaginable horror.

May they find peace.

* http://www.awaare.org/

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