Roanoke, VA (PRWEB) May 15, 2012
"It is unthinkable. It is every parent’s worst fear. For a special needs parent or caretaker the mere thought of it can be crippling. You let your guard down for a moment. You turn your attention away from your loved one for an instant. He is gone," states police officer, Jerry Turning.
On more than one occasion, Turning has seen desperation in the eyes of a parent whose autistic son or daughter is missing. As a K9 handler, he has felt the almost unbearable burden of having a family’s entire world resting on his shoulders. And as the father of a son with autism, Turning has also felt the knee-buckling terror of losing his child. He knows that for typical families, the dangers of wandering start to subside as their children reach the age of 5 or 6 years old. But for many special needs parents and caretakers, the dangers remain throughout the teenage years and, often, well into adulthood.
Turning, a police Lieutenant and a certified police K9 Handler and Trainer, is the newest contributor to Autism After 16, a website focusing on information and analysis of adult autism issues. His first article, “Surviving the Wandering Nightmare,” is intended to provide families with insight into working successfully with first responders in the event an autistic teen or adult goes missing. Turning will continue to write articles for Autism After 16 which focus on helping families and law enforcement personnel develop strong community support systems.
“As more children with autism become adults, communities need to know how to incorporate them well,” says the website’s editor, Merope Pavlides. “It’s important that law enforcement and other emergency personnel understand autism, and that families have information regarding how to best work with them. We brought Jerry Turning on board to help develop what we believe is crucial dialogue. As a police officer and an autism parent, his writing provides a unique and important perspective.”
Autism After 16 was developed to address issues facing the growing population of autistic adults and their families. In addition to articles like Turning’s on developing community supports, the website offers analysis of issues such as public school Transition services, employment, housing, and finances.
"As children approach their 18th birthdays, families discover that thinking about how to help them has to change," notes publisher Peter Emch. "Legal rights change, available and appropriate services change, financing options change, time horizons should change … It’s a different world. Services are available but you have to know how to access them. Missteps can cost years or exclude a family from access to services altogether.”
In addition, readers can exchange ideas and information on adult autism issues on the Autism After 16 Facebook page.