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The Autism Alliance of Michigan and the autism community at large across Michigan are sending thoughts and personal prayers for a beautiful boy with autism who has gone missing in our state.

Anne Taglione, mother of Sean, who the Autism Alliance’s ‘Sean Taglione Memorial Global Positioning System Program’ is named for, said yesterday “It can happen to anyone when you least expect it.” Sean was a 12 year old boy who was killed in a pedestrian motor vehicle accident after he had unknowingly wandered from home. The Taglione family, along with the Autism Alliance of Michigan, and supporters of the program, have made it their mission to provide GPS devices to families across the state of Michigan. The GPS Award Program online application is open and the Autism Alliance of Michigan has devices available to families who demonstrate the need for a GPS unit.

GPS is a must-have for a person with autism who wanders. A GPS provides a small measure of security to parents. If a child attempts to wander, an alert is activated before a child enters a dangerous situation. These devices are provided and monitored 24 hours per day through the Amber Alert system. Sgt. Scott Shuelke (Ret.) Safety Specialist for the Autism Alliance of Michigan reports “With nearly 50% of children with autism likely to wander from a safe environment, a GPS device allows parents and first responders to immediately start tracking the child, which we know can prevent tragedies.”

As the leading professional organization in the State of Michigan for Safety and Awareness Training for First Responders, Schools, and the Community, the Autism Alliance of Michigan has witnessed an outpouring of support for Omarian Humphrey who has been missing since Saturday. In summer months, wandering is an elevated risk with the draw of bodies of water for many children on the autism spectrum, with 91% of wandering-related deaths due to drowning (National Autism Association). We hope that the heightened awareness of wandering in Michigan currently will encourage families to take the time to introduce their family member with autism to neighbors and to their local first responders.

Anyone in the State of Michigan touched by autism, who would like to learn more about how to access our Safety and Awareness Trainings or our GPS Award Program, or how to help, can visit here.

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