Avonte's Law geared at helping police find missing children with - WNEM TV 5

Avonte's Law geared at helping police find missing children with special needs

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Lori Mcilwain, the co-founder of the National Autism Association, is an advocate for a proposal that would improve safety for autistic children.

"It's a piece of legislation that provides the same resources already available within the Alzheimer's community, to help them combat the wandering issue," Mcilwain said.

Avonte’s Law is named after an autistic boy who went missing and was later found in a body of water – similar to 9 year-old Omarion Humphrey, who went missing July 4 and was found a week ago in Davison Township's Lake Callis.

The statistics are shocking.

  • 49 percent of children with autism engage in wandering behaviors
  • 35 percent attempt to wander at least once per week
  • One-third of children with autism who wander are never or rarely able to communicate their name, address, or phone number
  • 42 percent of cases involving a child with autism 9 and younger end in death
  • 90 percent of lethal outcomes are accidental drowning

McIlwain said the legislation would help police find missing special needs citizens quicker by clueing them in on what to look for.

"It would create a process that would provide law enforcement agencies with the funding and training they need about the specific needs kids with special needs who are missing," McIlwain said.

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