Leaving home for more than an errand

A 13-year-old (same age as Isabella) boy with Asperger’s left school and rode the subway — for 11 days. Just writing the sentence makes my heart sink. He was reprimanded in school and did not want to deal with further scolding at home, so he rode the subway until a transit worker spotted him. All parents worry about their children getting abducted, thanks to all the publicized incidents since Ethan Patz in Greenwich Village. I remember seeing his image on milk cartons. Parents of children with development disabilities have much greater worries. We worry that our kids will get distracted and watch something in a store window instead of coming home. We worry that out kids will forget the way home. We worry that our kids will decide that they want to go to the park instead of coming home. So we don’t send them out alone. How long can we do that? At some point, children need to become independent.