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I am here to Support Autism

Hope Fading As Search For Autistic Boy Focuses On River

       By Katherine Wilton, Postmedia News,

       Montreal — Hope for the safe return of a missing three-year-old autistic boy was fading Wednesday as the fourth day of the search ended without a sign of him, leaving his family devastated by the tragic disappearance.
      Authorities called off the ground search for Adam Benhamama, focusing their attention instead on the river near where he disappeared. Divers equipped with sonar equipment searched many portions of the waterway, but police admit chances of finding the boy alive are extremely slim.
      His father had gone to Laval on Sunday to visit a sick friend who is in a wheelchair. When he arrived at the house with two of his children, he was carrying some groceries and a cake, hoping to cheer his friend up.
      But shortly after the father greeted his friend, Adam disappeared while playing hide-and-seek with his sister and another child outside the house on the Mille Iles River.
      His mother has since been hospitalized for shock while the father is having difficulty dealing with the tragedy, a family friend told reporters.
      "He is an excellent father, a great friend who everyone can count on," said Chaker Chraibi, who described himself as a longtime family friend. "He is so attached to his children. It is such a tragedy."
      Chraibi said that Adam's father had taken his son into the house, but said the boy was "opening the door and coming down the stairs."
      The father followed him outside and then asked his seven-year-old daughter to watch her brother "for a few seconds," Chraibi said.
      Adam's parents, who live in Montreal, also have a two-year-old son.
      Chraibi said the little boy's sister feels badly for what happened.
      "Yesterday she saw a picture of the kid, and she started crying," he said.
      Chraibi spoke to reporters as police divers continued to search for the boy's body in the Mille Iles River, north of Laval.
      The land search was called off Wednesday after police failed to find any trace of the boy over the past few days.
      Laval police Const. Nathalie Lorrain said that police have checked two square kilometres of land and shoreline.
      "Everything has been checked at least three times," she said.
      Chraibi said the boy's disappearance is a harsh reminder of how crucial it is to constantly supervise children.
      "It's a terrible lesson for everybody to learn," Chraibi said. "But it can happen to anybody."
      Chraibi also said he wanted to correct media reports that stated that Adam was deaf and mute. The boy's family name has also been corrected.
      Chraibi said Adam, whose fourth birthday is in June, can say a few words and short sentences and is not totally deaf, as Laval police had told reporters on Sunday.
      Lorrain said the mixup occurred because the family friend who called 911 to report Adam missing told the operator that the boy "was deaf and could not speak."
      "The operator heard the man's accent and asked him whether the boy spoke French," Lorrain said. "That's when he said (Adam) was deaf and could not speak."
      But after speaking with Adam's parents Wednesday, Laval police now say that the boy is hearing impaired and is speech delayed.
      Chraibi said Adam's father is too upset to talk to the media.
      "He wouldn't be able to talk without crying," he said. "They are a modest and humble family."

Extended video report here:

12 Year-Old Killed In Overnight House Fire

      By Brian Pryor Cochise County, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - Authorities are investigating a house fire that claimed the life of a 12 year-old boy overnight.

      Carol Capas with the Sheriff's Office said that they responded to the trailer home in the 400 block of Purdy Lane after 12:30 a.m. Saturday morning.
      Crews from the Naco, Bisbee, and San Jose Fire Department responded, as they arrived they observed two subjects outside the home. The father was seen trying to re-enter the burning home searching for his 12 year-old autistic son.
      Once the fire was under control, firefighters searched the scene and found the 12 year-old partially under the bed deceased. The father told investigators that the son evacuated with the family but became confused and ran back into the burning home.
      The American Red Cross is providing emergency aid to the family and provided them a place to stay. The Bisbee Fire Department also provided the family a care back with necessities and a pre-paid credit card.
      Investigators have not determined the cause of the fire but are looking at the electrical system as a possible cause.

Misbehaving Boy, 8,
Pepper Sprayed By Police in CO.

      Police in suburban Denver are defending their use of pepper spray on an 8-year-old boy they say was throwing a violent tantrum at school.

+ Video here:

The Deadly Wanderlust of Autism

      By Gary G. Porter, Autism Key.

      The recent case of Adam Benhamma continues to highlight the ongoing issue of wandering by those with autism. In fact, drowning has been cited as the leading cause of death for children and adults with autism, with a large majority of these incidents occurring during wandering episodes. Exposure to elements has also been responsible for many autism-wandering deaths.
      The issue has become so problematic, some of the largest autism non-profits in the country have partnered to form The Autism Wandering Awareness Alerts Response and Education (AWAARE) Collaboration. The group’s mission is to prevent wandering incidents and wandering-related deaths within the autism community through education, resources and awareness. The organizations that comprise AWAARE include Autism One, Autism Speaks, Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation, Hollyrod Foundation, National Autism Association and Talk About Curing Autism (TACA).
      In addition to awareness and education, technology is also being implemented to address this widespread problem. Products such as SafetyNet by LoJack and SecuraPAL by SecuraTrac offer solutions for parents and caregivers to track and locate those with autism.
      Despite these efforts, it’s clear that much more needs to be done to address the recent slew of tragic wandering cases. Just a few of those include:

      James Delorey – December, 2009. A seven-year-old boy with autism from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, went missing after following his dog into a wooded area. He was later found huddled in the fetal position in thick brush and snow less than a mile from his home. He was rushed to the hospital, but eventually passed away from severe hypothermia and exposure.

     Mason Medlam – July, 2010. Five-year-old with autism who died of his injuries after being pulled from a small pond in a town outside of Witchita, Kansas. Medlam wandered from his home out of a partially opened window and had been missing for more than a half-hour before being discovered.

      Zachary Clark – August, 2010. A five-year-old boy with autism from Tucson, Arizona who was pulled from a golf course pond located less than a half-mile from his home. Despite efforts at CPR, Clark was pronounced dead short after being airlifted to a nearby hospital.

      Nathan Kinderdine - August, 2010. A seven-year-old with autism from Ohio, wandered away from his class during a summer enrichment program at school. Kinderline was found by a custodian at the bottom of the school’s indoor swimming pool and although school nurses tried to revive him, he was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival to the hospital.

      Skyler Wayne – October, 2010. An eight-year-old boy with autism who was found in an Idaho river three houses away from his home. Wayne was in the care of a babysitter at the time of the incident and was found in less than two feet of water.  Savannah Martin – February, 2011. A seven-year-old girl from Oklahoma who was found face-down in a chilly pond about 50 yards from her home. Her two-year-old brother was also found with her in the water, but was face-up and buoyed by the Styrofoam in a bicycle helmet he had been wearing. Despite the efforts by the girl’s mother to revive her, Savannah was later pronounced dead.

     Jackson Kastner – March, 2011. Four-year-old who drowned in a Michigan river after wandering from his home. The river was located 300 yards from Kastner’s home and swept him away — he was later found a mile-and-a-half downstream. The boy was airlifted to a hospital but attempts to revive him were unsuccessful. 

      Adam Benhamma – April, 2011. A three-year-old boy who is both non-verbal and deaf has been missing since Sunday. Behnamma disappeared during a game of hide-and-seek while his father briefly went inside the house they were visiting. Police believe the boy fell into a nearby icy river. As of today’s date, he has not been found and is presumed to be deceased by authorities.
      These are just a few of the many heartbreaking stories that continue to play out around the country and world involving wandering individuals with autism. As we continue on with Autism Awareness Month, hopefully more attention will be brought to this problematic issue to ensure wandering-related deaths are minimized or completely eliminated altogether.
      To download a copy of a helpful autism wandering brochure from AWAARE, visit:  (Adobe Reader Required)

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Apr. 7, 2011 at 5:53 PM

sadThe realty of it all ... How very sad .. Kyle almost hit the hills when i had taken him to the mountains one time , that is the last time I will ever do anything like that .. YES IT DOES HAPPEN AND CAN HAPPEN ........... VERY SAD TO READ ALL OF THIS .. God Bless each and everyone of these children and all of are children who are great need of help ....................... TO protect them from wandering off ............. GOD BE WITH THEM ALL .. Thanks for the very important web site ...........

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Apr. 7, 2011 at 6:50 PM

Very sad.

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Apr. 9, 2011 at 2:04 AM

so horrible..makes my heart hurt. :(

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