Yan Cong

Navigating Elopement
Location: Beijing
Nationality: China
Biography: Yan Cong (b.1991) is an independent photographer based in Beijing, where she was born and raised. She focuses most of her long-term projects on women’s issues, rural China, and China’s relations with its neighbors.  In 2015, Yan was... read on
Public Story
Navigating Elopement
Credits: yan cong
Updated: 07/20/14

For Children with autism, "elopement" refers to the behavior of wandering off from a safe environment. A recent study found that almost half of the children with autism are runners. In the wake of the missing autistic child Avonte Oquendo’s tragic death in New York City, runners’ safety at home and at school becomes an alarming issue.

The Maisons, the family I photographed for this body of work, have two autistic boys, who are both runners. In the past 14 years while raising the brothers, Brandon and Brian, Mr. and Mrs. Maison have experienced four serious wandering incidents, where either boy was missing to the point that caused great concerns at home or at school. With patience, responsibility and love, the parents and the teachers do their best to help the boys navigate autism safe and sound.


By Yan Cong —

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