|Photo credit: NAA|
Kevin and Avonte's Law did not pass this time, but it will next time. Because, you see, we are #autism parents.
We never give up
Thank you, Senator Chuck Grassley, Senator Chuck Schumer, Congressman Chris Smith, Congressman Bob Goodlatte, and all of the Senators, Representatives and staffers who worked so hard for our community on this bill. And thank you to all of you for your calls, tweets, emails and support. We'll get it done next year.
Should it have passed, Kevin and Avonte's Law would've helped families and would've worked to keep children with autism and other developmental delays safe. With the rate of autism wandering at 49%, how absolutely unfortunate that it did not pass. Before I went to bed last night, I thought for sure it would've. I was heartbroken when I woke up and read the news. The kids were heartbroken, too. But we promised to not give up.
How could we?
Ronan needs us to keep working to keep him safe. Kids like Ronan need us to stay strong for them as well. Today, we are sad. But we promise that we would find strength again.
Next year <3
But waiting for next year's legislative season might be too late for some kids. Wandering is a scary reality for many families, ours included. Should other families find that they need wandering information or support now, I'd encourage you to check out the following links:
National Autism Association's AWAARE website
Autism Safety Coalition's website
Big Red Safety Box Toolkit
Personal stories of how wandering has affected our family and what we've done to reduce wandering incidents:
Person of Interest
Wandering Through a Winter Wonderland
Thankfully, Ronan hasn't attempted to wander for quite some time now. But because he has slipped out quietly in the past, we must be aware of where he is at all times. As you can imagine, being that hyper-vigilant can be a little stressful. But his safety is always a top priority. I wish that was the case for everyone, including for those who could've voted to pass a bill that would've helped so many.
We can't wait for lawmakers to set up safeguards to protect our children, but we can help each other right now. If you have found successful strategies that has kept your child safe from wandering, please share them in the comments below. Your ideas, experience and suggestions very well could help another parent keep their child from wandering today.