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Boy With Autism Safe After Hostage Ordeal


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An Alabama boy with autism is now safe after being held hostage for nearly a week in an underground bunker and experts say his diagnosis will likely affect how he copes with the ordeal.

Few details have been made public about 5-year-old Ethan who authorities say was snatched from a Midland City, Ala. school bus Jan. 29 and subsequently held captive by Jimmy Lee Dykes. The boy was rescued Monday afternoon by law enforcement officials who said Dykes is now dead. Ethan is reported to be physically unharmed and laughing with his family.

While he was held hostage, authorities said that Ethan’s mother was able to get medication to her son, likely to help with symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, in addition to creature comforts like coloring books. That little bit of stability probably helped the boy cope, the Alabama Department of Mental Health’s autism coordinator, Anna McConnell, told

At the same time, however, McConnell indicated that the disruption of Ethan’s routine was likely very stressful for a youngster with an autism spectrum disorder. And depending on the level of social difficulty he has, the condition could help or hinder Ethan’s ability to process the danger of the situation and recover from it. To read more click here.

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Comments (2 Responses)

  1. richard k says:

    I am curious why the media did not mention Ethan’s autism.

  2. KA101 says:

    Dunno which media you were watching, richard k; ABC, at least, was mentioning the d/x just about every day.

    As for his recovery, I’m hoping for a decent pull-through as life goes on. One thing Ethan has going for him here is the fact that the perp was clearly acting illegally: what Ethan experienced was Wrong and everyone can agree on that. He can get sympathy from anyone he encounters, which–to be clear–he deserves.

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