Recently in the news we learned of a 22 year old man with Autism was lost at Sea.
My first reaction to this news, “How did this happen? The poor family.” As a parent of an autistic child, we hover over them and of course, watch their every move.
However, our children will grow up and we want them to be able to have some sense of independence.
Which is exactly what the family of this young man was trying to do.
The group he traveled with had three chaperones and we cannot lay blame or fault with them. It is believed that he may have jumped over board to go for “a swim”.
Was this preventable? Can something be put into place to prevent this type of accident?
Yes, through out the years, it has been through personal experience of both parents and our incredible individuals on the spectrum that have made a difference. There are even cruise lines that offer special sailings with trained professionals.
Autism on the Seas is a renowned organization which has partnered with several cruise lines to offer exclusive sailings staffed with all of the features we would want as parent for our little cruisers, even adults.
Their efforts have been on going since 2007 and the list of available cruises continues to increase. Yet, not every family can afford this type of luxury and that is where Heroes 4 Autism would like to expand the efforts in training staff on EVERY cruise line.
Additionally, I would like to see safety measures applied to protect our special cruisers.
Buzziest Wrist Bands to be given and worn by every passenger identified as being on the spectrum. These wrist bands could work both for sensory issues but, alert the deck when a passenger should fall or get too close to the rails. Modified with sensors to alert the crew and families (like a pager system) these wrist bands could save lives!
Additionally, many families who could never afford this type of technology will be able to experience the benefits and cruise with peace of mind.
While some reading this may think that certain activities just should be avoided if we have children on the spectrum, I for one, want my child to experience EVERYTHING.
There are 7.7 billion people populating our Earth, and according to the Autism Society, over 1% are on the spectrum. That’s over 7 million people and its not going away or declining.
Our autistic community deserve to have the ability to experience everything, it’s through engagement that we can connect. What better way to contact and share then through the experience of travel!