In local news, a nine-year-old boy in Brooklyn had asked to walk home from day camp for the first time, and his mother was waiting for him seven blocks from camp. Somewhere on those seven blocks, he was abducted. Police and the entire Hasidic community of Borough Park spent two days searching for him.
Today, his dismembered remains were found. If you want the gruesome details, read this article - it's too upsetting for me to repeat.
My thoughts, of course, are with little Leiby Kletzky's family. I can't imagine how one goes on with her life after such a tragedy.
The media are reporting that the Leiby had autism. This makes me wonder if autism made him more susceptible to abduction. Was he less able than a typical child to sense that the assailant he encountered was dangerous because of his social deficits? Was he more trusting? Did he get distracted on his way home?
Kids with autism are prone to wandering off (they call this "elopement" but it's not very romantic) and often have a limited sense of danger, so abduction is a very real concern. There are special techniques to teach ASD children how to handle stranger danger, but I'm not sure who offers this training.
Here are some resources worth looking into to protect your ASD child:
- About.com's tips to reduce the danger to your child.
- ID jewelery (though I can't imagine my kid actually keeping an ID bracelet on.)
- Personal tracking devices: see eSpecialNeeds, Amber Alert GPS, or Care Trak.
- Project Lifesaver's tracking system and training for first responders