Wanderers Database for autism expands too slowly for some families

Lana Bandoim's picture

Linda Lee helped found the Wanderers Database in Maine with the help of police after becoming concerned her autistic son could run away again. The database is now being expanded to include more areas as agencies continue to use the valuable resource. However, this type of service is not available in every state or country, and families with autistic loved ones continue to suffer if they go missing.

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Linda Lee helped found the Wanderers Database in Maine with the help of police after becoming concerned her autistic son could run away again. The database is now being expanded to include more areas as agencies continue to use the valuable resource. However, this type of service is not available in every state or country, and families with autistic loved ones continue to suffer if they go missing.

The Wanderers Database requires families to fill out a simple form and provide a photo of an autistic loved one that can be stored electronically. Families can explain triggers or provide tips for handling their autistic children. This information is only used if the person vanishes, and police need to send out alerts. Lee explains that having the data in the hands of police can speed up the search process once a person disappears.

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Linda Lee has a 15-year-old autistic son who left her worried on multiple occasions as he grew up by wandering away from home. The Wanderers Database is not limited to people with autism, so families with elderly members and others can register for it. Lee still worries about her son and calls the police to check on the database, but she is happy to see people are benefiting from the idea.

Although the Wanderers Database is a great addition for families in Maine, there are many parts of the world that lack this type of system. Despite efforts from nonprofits and concerned citizens to set up these types of services in their local communities, there are obstacles that often prevent their success. Funding is an issue because the forms must be printed, processed, and an electronic database must be set up correctly. This has left some families wondering if the lack of a database slowed down the search for their autistic loved ones.

Read more about autism:
Airlines provide autism support: Advice for flying
Family being deported because of autistic child: Maria Sevilla reveals details

Image: AlvaroGzP/Wikimedia Commons

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