Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A kid with autism rides the subway for 11 days straight

I was listening to the news tonight, and was horrified by this story: A kid who has Asperberger syndrome, a form of autism, recently rode the New York City subway for 11 days straight. Francisco Hernandez Jr. got in trouble at school and fled, worried he'd also be in hot water at home. As his family searched frantically for him, he rode the train, subsisting on foods he got from newsstands. For 11 days, nobody questioned him; finally, a transit cop ID'd him.

When I hear stories about kids with special needs who wander off or disappear, they haunt me. They never did find five-year-old Hassani Campbell, the missing boy in California who has cerebral palsy.

As a parent, you obviously do anything possible to protect your child. But when you have a child who's more helpless than others, the responsibility that lies on your shoulders feels that much greater.

Photo by Jag9889


  1. Autism is definitely not something to treat lightly, and if you're interested in more info, this is a great place to start:

    Hope this helps,

  2. Talk to your local police department. There is a device that was developed for wandering adults with Alzheimers that my police department is also making available for children with special needs. It's like Lojak for people.

    I know- doesn't get rid of the stress. But it's pretty useful.

  3. Luke running off is my biggest fear. He is 7, has autism and is non-verbal. Our sheriff's dept says to only look for a child with autsim for 15-minutes before calling 911. They would rather you call and then find the child hiding in the basement then losing key time.

    If the device "StayingAfloat" talked about is the same that I know of, signals can be picked up to about 3 miles on the ground and when the police put it in the sky for search, the area is much greater.

    One scary thing about children with autism running away is that many (most?) are greatly attracted to water -- pools, streams, lakes.

  4. I can't even imagine! That poor kid! And his poor parents, I'd be sick with worry. I take it for granted that every one around here knows every one. The city isn't that far away and I wouldn't even know where to start looking if I lost one of my kids, special needs or not, in town! I'm glad they found him, its sad about Hassani not even being seen.

  5. The one important advantage to living in an absurdly small town is that everyone knows your children, you, and your business. If your kid is somewhere they are not supposed to be, you hear about it. If you are somewhere you aren't supposed to be, everyone hears about it!

    Everyone is an auntie or an uncle, or just a nosy neighbor....! No one can get far without someone not just noticing, but interfering--and that's a good thing if your kids have decided, say, to sneak out of the house to go to the playground at six thirty in the morning in their pajamas.....

  6. Oh my god, how terrifying.

    It's hard now that Queen Teen is 14. She wants independence, so we go to the store and I'll let her wander off to look at toys or the books. I keep an eye on her, but I try not to hover. She'll be out of sight for a few minutes while I run around the store getting what I need, checking on her from a distance, shopping some more... it makes for a frazzled shopping experience. But she needs the independence and I need to make sure someone doesn't just pick her up and carry her away. She's small and uses a walker, so how would she fight back? Would anyone else in the store intervene?

    1. I'm 13 and have Asperger's Syndrome. I am not athletic or big, so I have the same issue.

  7. That is so scary! That poor family must have been frantic!


Thanks for sharing!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...