The children in Hannah’s second-grade class were lined up to go home. Hannah’s older sister, Mandy, went to pick her up. When she got to the school, Hannah wasn’t in line. She wasn’t in the classroom. She wasn’t in the office. No one knew where she was. She had wandered away. It was One Frightening Day!
Mandy was terrified. She asked the principal, “Do I need to call my mom?”
“No…no…not yet,” the principal answered. She had staff scour the school grounds. They found Hannah swinging at the park adjacent to the school.
Hannah’s teacher said, “Hannah! We’ve all been looking everywhere for you!”
Hannah raised her eyebrows in surprise and replied, “I was right here swinging.”
It didn’t make sense to her that they didn’t know where she was. This is because children with autism tend to believe that what they think and know, everyone else thinks and knows. This is called Theory of Mind.
Read more about Theory of Mind here: http://www.myhopeforautism.com/hannahlearnstheoryofmindfromdog/.
Many children with autism don’t have a good ending to such a Frightening Day.
Susan Scutti, a CNN reporter wrote an article entitled Children With Autism 40 Times More Likely To Die From Injury, Study Says (http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/21/health/autism-injury-deaths-study/index.html).
In her article she states, “People diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, which causes challenges with social skills and communication, die at an average age of just 36, noted the researchers. For the general population, life expectancy is 72.”
According to the article, “‘Nearly 50% of children with autism wander,’ said Michael Rosanoff, an epidemiologist and director of public health at Autism Speaks, an advocacy organization. ‘And children with autism are often attracted to water.’”
It can happen so fast. In Hannah’s case, not only did her teacher and an aide watch out for her, but there was a staff member assigned to take her by the hand at the end of the day. Still, no one saw her wander away.
Therefore, I wholeheartedly support Andrew and Stacy Meredith’s efforts to get a service dog for their daughter, Kara. The dog will receive special training to help keep her from wandering, and to track her if she does.
The following is an on-line fund-raising event going on through July 9th, with an official time from 7:00 – 9:00 pm on July 7th. Please join me in this worthy cause! Thank you!
Hosted by Mandyfregoposh