Episode 8: Protecting the Vulnerable with Carrie Cariello
During the podcast interview, Carrie Cariello, an author and mother of a son with autism, discusses the challenges faced by children with autism and the potential for them to be victimized. Carrie shares a personal story that occurred in April, where Jack was deceived by someone he met online. Two men convinced Jack to meet them, took him to an ATM to withdraw money, and then left him at a meeting spot without his wallet. Jack called the police, who handled the situation appropriately and helped calm him down. Carrie emphasizes the vulnerability of children with autism and the need to address the risks they face when venturing out into the world.
Jerry discusses the importance of accurate reporting when incidents like these occur, as it determines the response and actions taken by law enforcement. They mention the significance of using precise language and tone when describing the situation, as it can influence how police officers interpret and respond to the call.
Carrie explains that in Jack's mind, the person he met online had become a friend, and he trusted them enough to meet in person. She reflects on the challenges of parenting a child with autism who may have a young adult's physical body but an emotionally younger mindset. They discuss the difficulty of balancing independence and safety, as well as the importance of teaching children the necessary precautions when meeting people online.
Carrie shares that Jack's desire for independence and handling the situation on his own was a courageous step for him. She acknowledges the internal struggle she faced as a parent, wanting to protect him while also respecting his desire for independence. The discussion concludes with the host sharing his own experience of meeting his wife online and emphasizing that online connections can lead to successful relationships, but it's essential to be cautious and teach children the appropriate ways to interact online.
Overall, the interview highlights the challenges faced by individuals with autism, the risks they may encounter, and the importance of communication, education, and vigilance in ensuring their safety.
Carrie Cariello is the author of What Color Is Monday, How Autism Changed One Family for the Better, and Someone I’m With Has Autism. She lives in Southern New Hampshire with her husband, Joe, and their five children.
Carrie is a contributor to the Huffington Post, TODAY Parents, the TODAY Show, Parents.com. She has been interviewed by NBC Nightly News, and also has a TEDx talk.
She speaks regularly about autism, marriage, and motherhood, and writes a weekly blog at www.carriecariello.com. One of her essays, “I Know What Causes Autism,” was featured as one of the Huffington Post’s best of 2015, and her piece, “I Know Why He Has Autism,” was named one of the top blog posts of 2017 by the TODAY Show.