Autistic Child Wanders Off, Mom Calls 911, Is Accused of Neglect
No parent can see everything.
An autistic 4-year-old wandered away from his home in Omaha, Nebraska, without his mom's knowledge. She did the right thing: she called the cops. And what did she get for it? A neglect citation. KETV 7 reports:
911 dispatchers received a call around 8:15 p.m. Thursday about a child standing on the corner of Northwest Radial Highway and Hamilton Street. The child had been there about 10 minutes with no adults nearby, according to a police report.
The child was unable to tell police where he lived or the names of his parents.
At 8:33 p.m., 911 received another call from a woman reporting her 4-year-old autistic son was missing.
According to the police report, officers went to the woman's home. She said her son had left the house without her knowledge and she went looking for him.
When the mother failed to find her son, she returned home and called 911.
The 31-year-old mother was cited on suspicion of child neglect.
Humans cannot be perfect. Humans cannot see all. Why don't the authorities seem to understand that?
"Wanderings" by kids with autism are fairly common, by the way (see this piece), and often the children are drawn precisely to the most dangerous places: bodies of water and busy streets.
I can't even imagine how many challenges the families of kids with autism face. A suspicious and unforgiving legal system should not be among those challenges.