April 19, 2022


by: admin


Tags: Connerjack, leaves, Oswalt, Wandering, Wondering


Categories: autism

Connerjack Oswalt Leaves us Questioning About Wandering

A 19 year old with autism left home in September of 2019, and was neither seen nor heard from by his family, until concerned police saw him shivering outside of a gas station hundred of miles from home, and asked him to come warm up in their car. They used instinct (his communication was different) and compassion to unravel a mystery.

Missing California teen found safe in Utah two years later

In 2011, a debate raged on whether the CDC should create an insurance code for WANDERING so that medical professionals could add this diagnosis to protect with autism. We know that children wander and drown regularly. Most of us have experienced at least one hair raising and heart stopping instance of our children disappearing. Ari Ne’eman, then the darling of the neurodiversity movement, pushed hard against the code (which was ultimately created and is in use):

Ari Ne’eman, president of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, argues that there is no research to suggest that wandering is medical in nature rather than a behavior that should be addressed through a social support system.

“For a lot of people with significant impairments, trying to leave a situation can be one of the only ways for them to communicate that they are facing abuse or facing an overwhelming situation. If this is put into a medical context then thought may not be given to why,” says Ne’eman whose group is working with The Arc, TASH, the National Disability Rights Network and others to oppose the CDC plan. Source Disability Scoop

The news reports offer no clues as to why he left home at age 16, or whether he attempted to get help or contact his family. The family moved from California to Idaho while their son was missing. We may never know why Connerjack Oswalt left home. His stepfather drove to Utah to identify him, while his mother stayed in Idaho. CNN aired an emotional video of his Step Dad telling his Mother that he’d been found. He has not returned home, but is in a treatment facility. He was able to stay alive. How? Where? With whom? Was it wandering or purposeful leaving? If Ne’Eman’s analysis holds true, even if leaving was fully voluntary, his days must have been fraught with danger. It’s quite a story. Hug your kids.


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