The U.S. Senate unanimously passed Kevin and Avonte’s Law on July 14, 2016, a bipartisan bill intended to protect people with autism and other conditions.
Kevin and Avonte’s Law was introduced in March of 2015 by Senator Chuck Schumer, D-NY, Senator Chuck Grassley, R-IA, and Senator Thom Tillis, R-NC. This bill was created in order to help improve autism education in the U.S., proactively prevent children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and other developmental disorders from wandering off, and helping to locate individuals when necessary.
The bill was named after two young boys on the autism spectrum, 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo and 9-year-old Kevin Curtis Wills. Avonte, a nonverbal autistic boy, went missing in October of 2013 after he ran away from his school in Queens, NY. His remains weren’t found until three month later, when it was discovered that he drowned in the East River. Kevin, in a similar story to Avonte’s, drowned after jumping in the Raccoon River near a Jefferson park in Iowa in 2008.
The U.S. House of Representatives still need to vote to approve Kevin and Avonte’s Law before it can be signed into law by the President.
The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., is one of many organizations and individuals who have supported this important bill since it was originally introduced as Avonte’s Law in January of 2014. Other organizations include the National Autism Association, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Autism Speaks, and the Alzheimer’s Association.