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Why Children with Autism Go Missing and What to Do – NCMEC

A cum laude graduate from the University of Oregon (finance and marketing), Dominc O’Dierno is the CEO of Amare LLC, a consulting firm that advises clients on early stage business growth and real estate transactions. A philanthropist, Dominic O’Dierno supports the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). NCMEC has a special protocol for parents of children with autism to help them find their children if they ever go missing.

Children with autism go missing for a various reasons. They may wander off toward things that interest them like road signs, trains, and water bodies or they may run away to escape various stimuli such as sounds, sights, and surroundings. In 2020, NCMEC received 291 reports about missing children with autism. Of the 291, 73 percent were found within the first week. A 10-year study revealed that 63 percent of the children recovered deceased died of drowning.

Parents of children with autism can lower the likelihood of their children going missing by identifying the risks early and sharing them with the people who know their children like neighbors, relatives, and teachers. Risks are things that attract children like trains, water bodies, bright lights, and highways. They can even keep maps of local areas with water bodies, highways, and other landmarks clearly indicated so people close to the children will know where to look in case they go missing. Further, parents should always have recent photos of their children available to help with searches. When moving to new neighborhoods, they should contact local law enforcement to find out whether they have programs for tracking children who go missing.


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