Join CafeMom Today! Autism Amber Alert
AMBER Alerts are distributed via commercial radio stations, satellite radio, television stations, and cable TV by the Emergency Alert System and NOAA Weather Radio for child abductions only! Children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder are NOT included in the criteria for issuing an Amber Alert. This really needs to change.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Rest in Peace: Avonte Oquendo

The Tragic Death Of Avonte Oquendo: How A School Lost A Vulnerable, Autistic Teenager -

News broke Tuesday that human remains from the East River belong to an autistic 14-year-old who had been missing since October — and who vanished when his teachers should have been watching him. 
Avonte Oquendo slipped away from school after lunch on Oct. 4, even though he had a reputation for wandering away during transitions and anindividualized education plan that noted this tendency, his family's lawyer David Perecmanpreviously told Business Insider
There is still a lot we don't know about what happened to Oquendo after he was lost and how he ultimately died. There are no obvious signs of foul play, the New York Post reported. We do know the teen, who could not speak, was afraid of the water, and that his parents don't know how he ended up in the river, Perecman told NBC News. The Post also noted his remains were found with Fruit of the Loom underwear that was too large for Oquendo, leading his family's lawyer to speculate that somebody may have had the boy for a few days.

Friday, November 22, 2013

“Lost in Public” Video Helps Parents Keep Their Children Safe

Nov. 19, 2013

For more information, contact:
Daphne Plump

“Lost in Public” Video Helps Parents Keep Their Children Safe
 A newly-launched “Lost in Public” video, produced by the Autism Research Group, demonstrates how to use rules, role playing, and praise to teach children what to do if they get lost. 
LOS ANGELES (Nov. 21, 2013) – The 
Autism Research Group (ARG)  this week launched “Lost in Public,” a five-minute video that instructs children and guardians how to use rules, role playing, and praise to teach children what to do if they become lost in a public setting.

 ARG is a nonprofit organization dedicated to using science to help individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). “We study ways to improve the lives of children with autism. One way is by teaching them safety skills, such as what to do when they get lost. We also study the art of teaching – what works, what doesn’t,” says ARG Associate Scientist Ryan Bergstrom, M.A., BCBA.  

”Lost in Public” was filmed on the streets of Los Angeles with Bergstrom as the interviewer and instructor. Bergstrom asks random people what they would teach children to do if they got lost and how they would teach it. The unscripted responses are humorous anecdotes. However, Bergstrom says the video and its lesson are, by no means, a laughing matter.

 According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children®, the first three hours are the most critical when trying to locate a missing child. The most recent study conducted by U.S. Department of Justice, National Estimates of Missing Children: An Overview (2002) estimates that approximately 800,000 children younger than 18 were reported.

“Lost in Public” video provides an alternative to the commonly-used method of establishing a meeting spot, as a child who is lost and nervous might not be able to find the meeting spot. Instead, it teaches children to do 3 things if they can’t find their parent:

1. Yell “Mom!” or “Dad!”

2.  If that doesn’t work, find a store employee. (If a child can’t find an employee, you might tell him or her to look for a mom with kids.) 

3.  Inform the employee that you’re lost.  

Once the child has mastered the rules, families should practice with their child in real-world situations by role playing that they are lost. When the child is successful during the role playing, Bergstrom says it is important to reinforce correct responding with praise or a reward which “seals the deal.”

In 2012, ARG published a study in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis that evaluated how rules, role playing, and praise were effective in establishing help-seeking behaviors in children with autism.  “This video was created not just for families of children with autism but as a tool for all families to use in order to prevent an unfortunate and terrifying incident from occurring,” says Bergstrom.

“Lost in Public” can be viewed online at

About Autism Research Group
Autism Research Group (ARG) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to identifying, evaluating, and disseminating treatments that make a real, measurable difference in the lives of individuals on the autism spectrum and their families. ARG uses science to improve quality of life for people with autism spectrum disorders and the families who love them. For more information about Autism Research Group, visit:

Friday, October 18, 2013

Missing with Autism: Avonte Oquendo Update (2 Weeks)

Search for Missing Teen Avonte Oquendo Hits 2-Week Mark | NBC New York

Fourteen-year-old Avonte Oquendo remains missing two weeks after he skipped away from his Long Island City school, despite an intense search that utilized everything from volunteer posters to infrared cameras and loudspeakers blasting his mother's voice to find him. 
Police said Friday morning that there have been no new developments in the search for the boy, who is autistic and cannot speak for himself. They released a new photo of the striped polo shirt he was wearing when he was last seen leaving school Oct 4. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Charles Foster = FOUND!!!

Missing Autistic Teen Reunited With Family « CBS Detroit

A teenage boy with special needs who ran away from his Dearborn home has been found safe and sound.
Sixteen-year-old Charles Foster was reunited with family members Wednesday morning. Police said they picked Charles up after receiving a call from a citizen who recognized the boy walking in the area of Campbell and 12 Mile in Royal Oak.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Missing with Autism: Charles Foster (Dearborn, Mich)

Dearborn Police search for missing teen who has Autism, bi-polar disorder & suffers from mood swings

DEARBORN, Mich. (WXYZ) - Dearborn Police are asking for the public's help to find a teenager who has been missing since Saturday night. 
Officers say 16-year-old Charles Foster was last seen by his parents as he was walking out of the family's home in the 4600 block of Schlaff. The incident happened at around 10:45 pm.
 Police say Charles' parents were unable to catch him as he ran northbound. 
Charles is 5'2" tall and weighs about 110 pounds. He appears much younger than his actual age. Charles has short hair and wears small frame glasses. 
He suffers from Autism, bi-polar disorder and mood swings. However, his family does not believe that he is a danger to himself or others. 
Charles was last seen wearing a beige collared short sleeve shirt with horizontal stripes, dark shoes and his glasses. 
Police say he has run away in the past and will frequent restaurants, gas stations or will beg for food. 
Anyone who has come into contact with Charles is asked to call 911 or Dearborn Police at (313) 943-2241.

Read more:

Friday, September 6, 2013

60 children with autism in the dead past four years from wandering

The 3-year-old girl wandered away from her grandmother’s home in Wareham, Mass., in mid-April. A frantic search began almost immediately, and within an hour little Alyvia Navarro was found unresponsive in a nearby pond. She was pronounced dead the next day. 
A month later, across the continent, a larger search unfolded over three days as hundreds of emergency service personnel and volunteers fanned out around Clearlake, Calif., looking for 9-year-old Mikaela Lynch after she vanished from her backyard. The outcome grimly echoed the Wareham search: A dive team found Mikaela’s body in a muddy creek. 
The two girls were the first of at least 14 children with autism known to have died this year after slipping away from their caregivers. All but one of them drowned, evidence of a fascination that many autistic children have with water. The body of the latest victim, 11-year-old Anthony Kuznia, was found Thursday in the Red River after a 24-hour search near his home in East Grand Forks, Minn. 
The tragic phenomenon goes by various names -- wandering, elopement, bolting -- and about half of autistic children are prone to it, according to research published last year in the journal Pediatrics. 
That would be a huge number. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated last year that 1 in 88 children are affected by autism, and a federal survey this year pegged the prevalence rate at one of every 50 schoolchildren -- more than 1 million children in all.
Wandering has led to the deaths of more than 60 children in the past four years, and the fear of it can make daily life a harrowing, never-let-your-guard-down challenge for parents.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Missing with Autism: Terry Dewayne Smith Jr (MENIFEE, Calif)

MENIFEE, Calif. - Remains have been found at the Menifee home of an 11-year-old boy with autism who went missing Saturday, ABC affiliate KABC reported.
Investigators are working to determine if the remains are human.

Terry Dewayne Smith Jr. disappeared from his family's home in the 3300 block of Helen Lane Saturday between 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. 
The 11-year-old boy was initially said to have been last seen in his brother's room Saturday night. On Wednesday, however, officials said his 16-year-old brother saw him following him to a nearby market. Once his brother realized Terry was following him, he told him to go home. Terry then disappeared. 
Crime tape blocked the street that led to the boy's family home as the investigation continued Wednesday.