Make the Call Today—Ask Your Elected Officials to Attend Autism & Wandering Briefing on Capitol Hill on May 19

May 14, 2015

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By Lisa Wiederlight, Executive Director, SafeMinds

WANDERINGIt’s a nightmare that most parents don’t want to consider.  They turn around, and their child is gone.  Research published in the journal Pediatrics has found that half of all children with autism engage in wandering or elopement behaviors, and many die alone without the ability to answer to their name or call out for help.

SafeMinds board member Kate Weisman relates, “It was the scariest time of my life.  My son would get away before we noticed he was out of the house.  He was very good at it.”

A Capitol Hill briefing on Autism & Wandering is scheduled for Tuesday, May 19th from 1-2:30 p.m. in Room 485 of the Russell Senate Office Building.  We need you to contact your federal elected officials, and ask that they attend.

How should you do it, and what should you say?

1)  If you don’t know your elected officials’ phone numbers, go to and and search for their names.

2)  Call their offices, and ask for the legislative director, or the legislative assistant who handles criminal justice issues.

3)  Give either the legislative director or the legislative assistant the information about the briefing, and tell them why you want your representative there.  Tell your story–make it as personal as your comfort level allows.  If you have had a child wander, try to relate your experience to the person on the phone.  They need to know.

4)  Thank them for their time, and ask them again to attend the briefing.

Besides your personal story, here are some talking points:

Let’s make this a happier, safer year for our families. Safe minds need safe bodies.

For more information about the legislation, the briefing, wandering & elopement in autism, and the coalition of autism organizations involved in this effort, visit

This SafeMinds initiative is part of our Policy and Justice Program. If you’d like to help, please donate to our Policy and Justice Fund.

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