The Kennedy Krieger Institute reported in a 2012 study that up to 48% of all children with autism will engage in wandering behavior or "elopement," which is defined as the tendency to leave a safe space and enter into a potentially dangerous one, and is a rate 4 times higher than their neurotypical siblings.
The Krieger Institute also reported that "35% of families with children who elope report their children are “never” or “rarely" able to communicate their name, address, or phone number by any means."
In 2012, the National Autism Association reported that "accidental drowning accounted for 91% total U.S. deaths reported in children with an ASD ages 14 and younger subsequent to wandering/elopement."
This vigil is being organized to spread awareness of the very real issue of wandering behavior in autistic people and the unspeakable tragedies that can, and have occurred as a result.
This event is not about placing blame or even to talk about solutions. The sole purpose of what the vigil was created this for is to simply remember the children who have died. We're hoping that personal feelings about each other can be put aside long enough so that the community can come together and mourn the unspeakable loss of innocent young lives. Let's forget our differences for one day. Maybe that will lead to something better.