The Politics of Autism discusses the problem of wandering, which has been the topic of legislation before Congress.
Bipartisan legislation to help families locate missing loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease, autism and related conditions has unanimously passed the U.S. Senate. Kevin and Avonte’s Law (S. 2070), named in honor of two boys with autism who perished after wandering from safety, would also support training for caregivers to prevent and respond to instances of wandering. The bill, led by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Senator Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), is now pending approval in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“The feeling of dread and helplessness families must experience when a loved one with Alzheimer’s or autism goes missing is unimaginable. But when communities are empowered to lend a hand, these terrifying situations can have happy endings. Kevin and Avonte’s Law, named for a boy from Jefferson, Iowa and a boy from New York City, makes resources available for technologies that advance the search for missing children, along with specialized training for caregivers and first responders to help prevent wandering by vulnerable individuals,” Grassley said. “I look forward to its swift passage in the House of Representatives.”
“We need to do everything we can to make sure that kids like Hamza Elmi from St. Cloud – and all people with a developmental disability or a form of dementia – make it home safely,” Klobuchar said. “Passing this bipartisan bill into law will mean first responders, law enforcement officers, caregivers, and Minnesota families will have access to the technology, resources, and training they need to prevent wandering and find missing people.”
“I’m pleased to see the Senate unanimously pass Kevin and Avonte’s Law, which will support training for caregivers to prevent and respond to missing individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, autism, and related conditions,” said Tillis. “This legislation has a deep personal meaning for me, as I was a caregiver for my grandmother during her battle with Alzheimer’s disease. We should be moving heaven and earth to help families and caregivers reunite with loved ones who wander and disappear, and Kevin and Avonte’s Law can truly make a difference in preventing tragedies and give families across America a greater peace of mind.”
Information on the introduction of this legislation is available HERE, a bill summary can be found HERE and full text of the legislation can be found HERE.
In addition to Senators Grassley, Klobuchar and Tillis, the bill is also sponsored by Senators Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.)