ROBBIE WAS FOUND ALIVE FRIDAY AFTERNOON!! AFTER 6 DAYS, LITTLE ROBBIE WAS FOUND IN A QUARRY, CURLED IN THE FETAL POSITION, COLD AND DEHYDRATED, BUT ALIVE AND ALERT!!! HE WAS IMMEDIATELY AIRLIFTED TO THE HOSPITAL WHERE HE WAS REUNITED WITH HIS FAMILY!!
Robbie Wood is 9 years old and has a severe form of autism. He can't speak, and he likes to run and hide from his caregivers. Last Sunday afternoon the unspeakable happened. While on an outing with his father, his father's girlfriend, and his brother (who also happens to have autism), Robbie darted away. The outing was in a civil war battlefield park, a park that is 80 acres in size, and surrounded by a thousand more acres of dense forest, cliffs and a river.
As of the time this blog was written (Wednesday afternoon), Robbie still had not been found. County police, state police, professional search and rescue organizations and 1000's of volunteers have been combing the vast area looking for Robbie. Robbie was dressed only in a long sleeve teeshirt and athletic pants - clothes not warm enough for our 40 degree nights. And, he hasn't had any food or water since Sunday afternoon.
Everytime I think of what Robbie is going through, as well as what his parents, other relatives and friends are going through, tears flood my eyes. Each passing hour makes keeping grim thoughts out of hopeful hearts harder and harder. There have been vigils and prayer circles and volunteers who vow never to stop looking for Robbie until they find him and bring him home. But there have also been people who offer negative comments about Robbie's parents.
Comments like, "How can a father just let a son wander off?" and "What is wrong with these parents?" and "Robbie has scratches and bruises on his face in that picture? Did the parents do that to him?". And that's the milder of the negative comments and questions.
I know what it is like to raise a child with significant special needs. I understand the running and hiding. I have experienced first hand the self-injurious behaviors that to an untrained eye would point to a parent or caregiver. But the police have given absolutely no, as in a big fat NO, indication that this is anything other than Robbie has run away.
Why do people who have no clue about parenting a child with autism feel the need to ask questions and make comments that do nothing but hurt the family more? Honestly, it really, really pisses me off...
Please keep Robbie and his family in your prayers.