The search for Brooklyn Venter, an eight year old that went missing from the playground at Westfield Old Orchard Mall in Skokie for over six hours on September 25th, highlights the difficulties of finding a child with autism.
Brooklyn wandered away from his parents near the L.L. Bean store at around 1:00 p.m. Brooklyn’s parents described him as “non-verbal autistic” and supposedly, he doesn’t respond to his name, which would make finding him difficult. As any parent can attest, finding a missing child can be downright incredibly difficult.
But in a great showing of support, over 100 friends, family and police searched for Brooklyn throughout the mall. Eventually, he was found in the L.L. Bean store, hiding in a restricted area for employees only. He was tucked in a corner as if he was playing hide-and-seek.
To say the least, Brooklyn’s parents are overwhelmed. “I feel like I’m in a movie, honestly,” his dad, Rafael Venter told the media, “It was just two extremes as far as emotions; completely distraught and completely disappointed and frustrated, and you name it, we felt it. And then, in one second, one of my family members came up to me and said, ‘we found Brooklyn!’ and I completely just, ‘are you kidding me?’ … I was just- thankfulness, honestly.”
Happy endings are the best. Finding kids with autism is incredibly difficult. They will sometimes wander away from their parents’ view and that’s where problems arise. Sometimes they will have an attraction to water or enclosed spaces, as we saw with Brooklyn. Stimuli such as loud noises might be a problem for these kids and they will want to escape. And like Brooklyn, ⅓ of wandering kids with autism are considered “non-verbal”.
The Center for Missing & Exploited Children recommends that you consider the child’s interests and their favorite places. First responders should be notified of these interests. Also talk to your family, friends and neighbors. They can tell you if and/or when the child goes missing and call law enforcement IMMEDIATELY. As we saw with Brooklyn, friends and family were eager to help.
And now that Brooklyn’s safe, it’s even better.You can bet Brooklyn got a lot of hugs and kisses that night.
If your child or your friend’s child has gone missing, do not hesitate to call law enforcement IMMEDIATELY. Please make sure to notify your family and friends, let them know if they have been diagnosed with autism or any difficulties that might arise while trying to find the child.
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About The Author
This article was written by our jjslist.com Intern Paul.