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Group calls for more education after deaths of children with autism


Three children with autism who drowned in recent months after wandering from their homes and into nearby bodies of water is prompting advocacy groups to take action.

The Associated Press reports wandering, something autistic kids are prone to, has led to the deaths of more than 60 children in the past four years.

A 2011 Interactive Autism Network study found that nearly half of children with autism are four times more likely to wander away from a safe environment, WDAZ reported.

Last Thursday, the body of 11-year-old Anthony Kuznia was recovered from the Red River. The East Grand Forks, Minn. boy with autism had gone outside to play and wandered away. His death was ruled an accidental drowning.

Kuznia was one of at least 14 autistic children known to have died this year after escaping from their caregivers. The Associated Press says all but one drowned, evidence of a fascination that many autistic children have with water.

Advocacy groups National Autism Association and Autism Speaks say they're making it a priority to increase awareness of wandering among parents, health professionals and law enforcement agencies.

In East Grand Forks, police are looking into Project Lifesaver, an organization that specializes in GPS trackers for people with cognitive disorders, WDAZ reports.

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