Yan Cong

Photographer
  
Navigating Elopement
Location: Beijing
Nationality: China
Biography: Yan Cong (b.1991) is a researcher and independent photographer based in Amsterdam. Her current research interests are platform, datafication, ethical AI, culture production and labor. Yan is the co-founder of  Far & Near , a newsletter... MORE
Public Story
Navigating Elopement
Copyright Yan Cong 2022
Updated Jul 2014
Topics Autism, Care Giver, Documentary, Elopement, Family, Health/Healing, Love, Multimedia, Photography, photojournalism, Video, Youth

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.

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