Just two days ago the story of a young homeless girl in Rome took the world by storm after speculation mounted that she may be Madeleine McCann.
The English-speaking girl was indeed not Maddie, but instead was Embla Jauhojarvi, a 21-year-old woman from Stockholm with Asperger’s Syndrome who went missing six months ago and had sadly ended up living on the streets of the Italian capital, reports the Daily Mail.
The viral nature of the story, such is the way of the modern world, made its way to Sweden and within a matter of hours Embla’s father, Tahvo, was on a flight to Rome for a highly-anticipated reunion with his daughter.
However tragically the reunion was not to be as Tahvo has just revealed that Embla does not wish to go back to Stockholm with her family but would rather go back to her life on the streets.
Speaking about the rejection a clearly distraught Tahvo said:
She’s a wreck. Embla is not herself. She is a different person. She barely talked to us. She wants to go back to living on the street. She doesn’t want to come home.
We want to take her back to Sweden but it is so difficult. If she were in Sweden it would be so much better. How can the [Italian] authorities let her go back in the streets. She is not well.
I cannot let her go back to sleeping outside and begging for food.
Somewhat interestingly is the fact that past studies have found a correlation between those with Asperger’s Syndrome preferring to spend their life on the streets as opposed to going home.
Why? Well as Liza Dresner, the manager of Resources for Autism, puts it:
For somebody with autism, weird as it sounds, being on the street may feel much more like they’re in control.
Liza’s answer is simple but hard. She claims that we need to force people with Autism to live inside rather than giving in and letting them spend their life on the streets where they are vulnerable to everything from falling ill due to the cold, to external factors such as dangerous people with intent to cause harm.
All I’m doing is getting people to think differently. The big difference is saying: stop talking so much, stop trying to get people to make lots of choices.
Instead, say: “This is the rule.” You have to be honest and say, ‘There is no choice – you’re going indoors. That’s been the big difference, but people are very uncomfortable with that because we’re all about allowing people to make choices. It’s totally alien to what everybody’s been told, but I don’t care – I’m telling people anyway and it’s working.
Hopefully in the near future Embla will decide to go home with her family. Only time will tell, I guess.