Autism advocates push for safety resources, education after child’s death in Hopkins

Autism advocates push for safety resources, education after child’s death in Hopkins

Autism advocates push for safety resources, education after child's death in Hopkins

As the Hopkins community mourns the death of a 4-year-old boy who went missing, autism advocates are raising awareness about solutions to prevent another tragedy.

Autism advocates in the Somali community explained there are a handful of ways to prevent this tragedy, but they need help from elected leaders to create a safer community for kids with autism.

A volunteer search party and multiple agencies combed through Hopkins for Waeys Ali Mohamed and it reached a devastating end Monday morning.

Hopkins police said a volunteer located the 4-year-old’s body about 500 yards downstream from his apartment building.

“This is a horrible tragic accident from everything that we are able to determine,” Hopkins Police Capt. Craig Kreiling said.

Waeys disappeared Sunday morning.

Authorities believe he wandered off on his own and drowned in the Minnehaha creek.

“I’m a mother of a child with autism so my heart is broken. Our community is mourning,” said Fatima Molas, Multicultural Autism Action Network co-founder.

National data shows kids with autism are 160 times more likely to drown compared to kids without the disorder.

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Molas said she’s seen these statistics come to life in the Somali community far too often.

“Lack of access, lack of education, not making this a priority for our families,” Molas said.

Molas explained nonprofits like hers are pushing to get Somali families resources and education, but the need is growing faster than what’s offered.

“How can we support that mother so that child can thrive and be safe in his community?” Molas said. “You’re trying to help your child to get this early intervention services and support therapies and all of these other activities that will help that child thrive, but there isn’t enough resources out there for all families.”

She’s calling on elected officials to step up.

Molas explained Somali families can’t stop these tragic incidents from happening alone.

“Give the family the resources they need to teach their children how to swim because the resources are coming from the services that the county provides,” Molas said. “When you look at all of these, it’s like it’s connected.”

In the meantime, Molas mentioned families talking with landlords about getting locks on windows and doors to help prevent children with autism from wandering off.

The community is fundraising to help support Waeys’ family.