When a loved one has gone missing, it is on of the most frightening scenarios imaginable.
Young people with autism are known to get lost or wander away from their homes. Just as you would describe to the police the details of the person’s appearance and what they were wearing, it is also imperative to explain his/her disabilities. The police officers in Delhi Township, OH have noticed how difficult this task came to be. Authorities knew they needed a better method to have information on hand during these types of situations.
In the case of Tami Haskins, a mother of four 8-year-old quadruplets, this holds especially true. She has two girls and two boys. Both of the boys have autism but only one has a tendency to wander. A few years ago her son Brendan walked off on his own. By the time police officers found him, they were not able to communicate effectively with him. He couldn’t tell them who he was, his parents’ names, or where he lived. It was a challenge to get him back home to his family.
Situations like these lead to the creation of a new database program called Bring Our Loved Ones home, or BOLO for short. With this system, people are able to register family members who have a tendency to get lost and require special needs. Their profile includes a recent picture and a general physical description. It also provides information such as certain triggers, tips on ways to calm the individual, and better communication strategies. For Brendan, that included letting officers know when he puts his hands over his ears it means he is frustrated.
Since it’s implementation the program has proven to be a very effective tool for police officers to use. Instead of jotting down the information of the missing individual they are able to download all that they need to their dashboard computers within seconds. It has not only helped those with autism but has been used to locate elderly persons who suffer from with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
This type of specialized training has brought about more awareness in the community and comfort for the families involved.
Written by Raiza Belarmino