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Following drowning death of Texas girl with autism, Sheletta travels to Houston to donate 100 door locks for families with children on the spectrum

Houston native and autism advocate Sheletta Brundidge, known as The Autism Mom, is returning to her hometown to launch her “Spread Love with Locks” campaign in Texas.

 

The mother of three autistic children, Brundidge will meet with Texas parents who have special needs kids and give them free locks to keep them safe inside their homes.

 

Brundidge will be donating 100 interior door locks as the community mourns the death of 12-year-old Aisha Adebayo. The nonverbal girl with autism wandered from her home in Fulshear on June 26. Following a massive search by law enforcement and hundreds of volunteers, the girl’s body was found in a lake June 27; it is presumed that she drowned.

 

“As a mother, my heart breaks for that child’s family. I know first-hand that keeping kids with autism safe is no easy task,” explained Brundidge, who lives with her family in Minnesota.

 

Even more than other children, autistic children are known to wander or even bolt from a safe place to follow something that grabs their attention. They have a tendency to impulsively run from a situation they find stressful or frightening, like loud noises or bright lights. They are also often attracted to water.

 

“As parents, we go to great lengths to keep our children safe; I have gates, fences, alarms and chirps on the doors,” Brundidge added. “Even so, I know we are just one blink away from one of our children going missing.”

 

On July 6 at 10 am to noon, Brundidge will be at the YMCA on Cavalcade Street in Houston to give parents keyless electronic interior combination door locks.

 

Brundidge has purchased 50 of the special locks and got her social media followers to donate 50 more through an Amazon gift registry.

 

One of the 50 donated locks was purchased by a mother who herself suffered the loss of her 10-year old daughter with autism. Amy Fields said, ”If I can save another mother the nightmare I have to live through day by day, I am happy to do so.”

 

In June, Brundidge spearheaded another donation drive for the keyless electronic interior combination door locks in Hopkins, Minnesota. That followed the death of Waeys Ali Mohamed, a four-year-old boy with autism who also wandered from his home in suburban Minneapolis and drowned.

 

“People say, teach them to swim, but it’s not easy with children who are non-verbal and can’t follow directions,” Brundidge said. “I understand what other parents with kids on the spectrum go through. I have days when I can’t bring my groceries into the house or even close the door when I’m in the bathroom.”

 

A longtime advocate for families with children with autism, Brundidge is an award-winning broadcaster, business owner, and author.  She hosts the “Taking Authority over Autism” podcast, gives free workshops to link parents to autism resources and has consulted major league sports teams on adapting sensory rooms in their stadiums for families like hers. Her business ShelettaMakesMeLaugh.com sponsors job fairs for adults with autism.

 

Brundidge has authored a series of picture books featuring her children as lead characters and providing badly needed representation of Black children with special needs in the pages of children’s literature.

 

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