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Autism and wandering: Aimee & Brandon's story

Brandon, 9 year old with autism

Nine-year old Brandon can usually be found playing in his tree house or out in the yard exploring. He has autism, and although many kids with autism wander, Brandon wasn’t typically one of them. There had only been a few instances while in the company of his mom, dad or four siblings that Brandon had wandered off. Even on these occasions, he never went far from home.

But one day, Brandon’s parents’ greatest fear became a reality, Brandon decided to "go on an adventure.” He climbed over the front yard fence, crossed a heightened traffic area and continued on his way. At the time, Brandon’s mom Aimee was not home, and Brandon’s older brother was in charge. As he looked around the yard for Brandon, he didn’t see him and assumed Brandon was up in the tree house, playing as usual. He didn’t realize Brandon had figured out how to climb the fence. Shortly, however, he realized Brandon was not in the family’s yard – he had wandered.

Upon learning her son was missing; Aimee went into an immediate state of panic. She got in her car and started driving the area to see if she could find him.

A little over a mile away, a woman driving down the street saw a young boy walking barefoot and very close to oncoming traffic. The woman pulled over and made a few attempts to get Brandon's attention. She knew something wasn’t right when he didn't respond and just continued walking.

As she got closer to him, she saw Brandon’s MedicAlert ID bracelet with the inscription “Autism & Non-Verbal.” She immediately called the number on his bracelet. The MedicAlert response specialist told her to remain where she was with Brandon and they would contact his parents.

“I was driving around for less than 10 minutes when MedicAlert called me,” said Aimee. “Brandon would have kept going and ended up who knows where if the nice woman hadn’t stopped and saw his MedicAlert ID bracelet. MedicAlert’s emergency response team told me exactly where I could go to pick up Brandon; I couldn’t help but being a blubbering mess and so grateful.”

“My parents were the ones who made the decision to get Brandon’s MedicAlert membership a few years back," says Aimee. “That night I called my dad and told him how MedicAlert helped keep Brandon safe.”