In an article published yesterday, The Brooklyn Ink interviewed Shema Kolainu-Hear Our Voices Founder Dr. Joshua Weinstein about improving school safety and security after the disappearance of autistic teenager Avonte Oquendo early October.
“We took some important steps in our own school and around the community to highlight the tragedy and safety first activities to make sure the same thing will not happen again,” Weinstein said in the interview. “We always have safety procedures in place, but we developed workshops and seminars for all teachers and assistants.”
Weinstein emphasized the issue of wandering amongst children with autism. There is a teacher and three assistants for every group of six students at Hear Our Voices. Children with tendencies to wander have a teacher with them at all times.
Furthermore, Hear Our Voices has cameras installed throughout the building and surrounding streets with someone monitoring them at all times.
“Before we didn’t enumerate wandering, now we enumerate there is an issue with wandering, and issue with children who are hyper and self-injurious,” Weinstein tells Brooklyn Ink writer Chen Wu. “You have to pay more attention to these.”
Earlier in the month, New York Senator Chuck Schumer proposed offering voluntary tracking devices for children diagnosed with autism. In the interview, Weinstein said he had already set up meetings with companies to explore this proposal.
“If we think something is worthwhile, we will set up workshops with parents, give them opportunity to contact companies,” he said. “It’s up to the parents.”
Read the full Brooklyn Ink article here: http://thebrooklynink.com/2013/11/21/53363-safety-after-avonte/