An 8-year-old autistic boy who ran away from school to look for his mom and dad was found in relatively good shape more than 24 hours after he went missing, the Los Angeles Times reported.
"He's drinking water ... eating ... it's elation ... relief," San Bernardino County sheriff's Lt. Rick Ells told reporters.
The boy, Joshua Robb, took off from a playground at his elementary school in Twin Peaks just after 11 a.m. on Monday, outrunning teachers who chased him and vanishing into San Bernardino National Forest, officials said.
"He's rather quick and this kind of behavior where he runs off is typical," the San Bernardino County sheriff's spokeswoman Cindy Bachman told the Associated Press at the time.
Joshua is "severely autistic," officials say, and he doesn't respond well to loud voices or people calling his name...
The article included a troubling aspect of Joshua's home life:
...Joshua's parents had recently lost their house to foreclosure, according to local reports.
He was taken into protective custody after a realtor called social services to report that the boy had been restrained while the family moved out of their home, according to NBC Los Angeles.
"We had to lightly tether him while we were moving stuff out of our house," the father, Ron Robb, said...
"Lightly tether", huh?
When I hear an excuse like that, I immediately imagine other scenarios when a child was "lightly" tethered.
So that one could squeeze in 30 minutes of Farmville?
When one needed an hour nap?
During that fun cookout the family hosted?
When the big game was on Sunday?
I think I can make such a proclamation--having a child on the spectrum, who may or may not respond to his name being called, is unpredictable, and who has running speed similar to my observations of the Roadrunner from the old Looney Tunes cartoon, I believe there is no substitution for "watching" such a child.
Watching means attentive with eyes on the little one.
When I am watching our youngest, I can't be blogging, enjoying the television, napping, or whatever. I best be in the room with him and cognizant of his actions--so that I am not trying to portray, to a national audience, poor parenting involving an inhumane restraint as a viable child-care approach.