This one is especially heartbreaking. 9-year-old Ariyanna Pivachek disappeared from a birthday party this week. After a desperate search including 9 divers and a helicopter her drowned body was discovered in a nearby pond. The pond was about 40 feet from the party location, and her body was found about 15 feet from the shoreline in water about 6-8 feet deep.
That’s all it takes, a few minutes and a pond or a busy road or a trunk they might crawl into.
The extra heartbreak in this story comes from the fact that Ariyanna was in foster care. A family who were considering adopting her had taken her to his party.
I have no interest in berating a family who had opened their hearts to the idea of taking in a special needs child. I’m sure they are devastated and guilt-ridden enough, and people without first hand experience in dealing with a wanderer or a bolter can’t understand the hyper-vigilence it takes to keep these kids safe.
It’s harder enough for those of us who do get it. One distracted moment can create a tragedy. Just today shortly after we got back from a family gathering we noticed we hadn’t locked the padlock on the front door behind us when we came in. If Lord of the Flies had noticed he would be gone.
Wandering and bolting are hands down the worst aspect in caring for an autistic child, at least to me. 92% of autistic children wandered, and drowning is the #1 cause of death for autistic children.