I wrote last week about Robbie Wood, a nine year old boy with autism who wandered away from his family. After 6 days, Robbie was found and reunited with his family and surprisingly suffered no major injuries as a result of his ordeal. I found myself wondering what I would do if I were the parent of a child that wandered away.
My mind immediately went to something I had read about and which I knew was offered by the police department in my area - Project Lifesaver. According to the Project Lifesaver website:
“Project Lifesaver International helps provide rapid response to save lives and reduce potential for serious injury for adults and children who wander due to Alzheimer’s, autism, Down syndrome, dementia and other related cognitive conditions. Project Lifesaver provides equipment, training, certification and support to law enforcement, public safety organizations and community groups throughout the country and nation. Project Lifesaver has over 1,200 participating agencies across the U.S., Canada, and Australia, and has performed 2,449 searches in the last 11 years with no serious injuries or fatalities ever reported."
If you are the parent of a child with Autism, Down Syndrome or any other disability which might mean your child will wander or run away, or if you care for someone with Alzheimer’s, I strongly urge you to visit the Project Lifesaver website, and then to find out if your community has such a program.
I don’t want to read about another Robbie spending days lost in the woods….