Now, Linehan, a state Representative in the 103rd District (D-Cheshire/Southington/Wallingford), is taking that initiative to another level.
Rep. Linehan is encouraging her constituents and Connecticut residents to support legislation that would establish a police training program on children with autism who wander.
HB 6260 will have a public hearing in the Public Safety and Security Committee on Thursday, February 16 at 11 a.m. in Room 1E of the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.
According to a press release issued from Rep. Linehan's office, research has shown that nearly half of children with autism spectrum disorder attempt to wander from a safe, supervised space. Known as elopement, autistic children engage in this behavior at a rate much higher than their peers and often wander towards water.
When children with autism go missing, typical police methods of locating a child – such as the use of lights and loud sounds – may not be effective. The legislation would establish a training program to educate police on best practices for locating and communicating with children with autism who wander.
“Children with autism who wander are at a higher risk of drowning and being hit in traffic," Rep. Linehan said. "It is critical that police have the training needed to locate these children quickly and safely.
"I’m very proud that Logan's Project in Cheshire is already providing this training, and I believe it should be a resource available statewide. I encourage anyone who supports this legislation, especially families of children with autism, to testify or submit testimony on Thursday.”
Rep. Linehan created Logan’s Project in Cheshire to provide police training on children with autism who wander after hearing the story of Logan, a boy with autism in Southington with a history of wandering from home.
Instructions on testifying or submitting written testimony can be found on the General Assembly website. Constituents of Rep. Linehan also contact her at Liz.Linehan@cga.ct.gov or call her office at 860-240-8585 for assistance.