Experts say drowning is a leading cause of death for children and adults with autism

Experts say drowning is a leading cause of death for autistic


The National Autism Association says that drowning is one of the leading causes of death for kids and adults with autism.
That doesn’t come as any big surprise for Brenda Simms of Elyria.  She’s seen how drawn to water her 22-year-old son John Aumock has been over the years.  
John is autistic.
"We take my son down to Black River Landing to go fishing, and he dropped the fishing pole in one day and wanted to go right in after it.  We basically had to stop him. He loves water. I have no swimming pool because I can't leave him in the water," said Simms. "They don't have the fear.  I think they don't have the fear.  They just think it's water, what harm can it do? When really, it can do a lot of damage."

Four-year-old Sidney Heidrick was autistic, according to police.  After going missing from his grandparent's home in Sheffield Lake, his body was pulled from Lake Erie on Saturday afternoon.  Investigators say drowning seemed to be the most obvious cause of death.

"I know what the mother is going through,” added Simms.

In a painful twist, Brenda Simms also knows the heartbreak of losing a child to drowning.  Her 12-year-old daughter Ashley drowned at Edgewater Park back in 1997.  Simms says her daughter was only in waist deep water when she was pulled under by a powerful undercurrent.

"It is really hard.  Even after all these years, it's still hard.  The pain don't go away," said Simms.

The National Autism Association recommends swimming lessons for kids and adults with Autism.  They even say a final lesson should be taught allowing the child or adult to learn how to survive in the water in clothing and shoes. 

"I do know what this mother is going through or this family. You just have to watch their kids. If they have autism, just keep an eye on them – close," said Simms. 

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