2016-05-18 / Front Page

Law Firm Honors Autistic Teen’s Memory

By Liz Goff
The law firm representing the family of Avonte Oquendo is offering a $1,000 scholarship to college students with autism, or family members who require financial aid to continue their college education.

David Perecman, founder of The Perecman Firm, announced the second annual Avonte Oquendo Memorial Scholarship Fund last week on the firm’s website, www.perecman.com.

“Avonte’s case brought the issue of autism to the forefront of our minds,” Perecman said. “We thought it would be a nice thing if we, as a law firm, did a little something for people who have autism.”

The scholarship is awarded to a college student who has been diagnosed with a form of autism, or has a close family member who is affected. Applicants are required to answer one essay question and submit their most recent school transcript. The deadline to apply for the scholarship is July 31 and the award will be presented in the fall of 2016.

The 2015 Avonte Oquendo Memorial Scholarship was awarded to an 18-year-old college-bound student who was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Perecman said the law firm supports passage of a federal version of “Avonte’s Law,” a measure proposed by Sen. Charles Schumer, that would fund programs to provide voluntary tracking devices for autistic children who have a tendency to run or wander off as Avonte did.

Avonte Oquendo, 14, ran out a door of his Long Island City School in October 2013, setting off a massive search that ended tragically when his remains were found, months later, on an embankment on eastern Queens.

Schumer’s version of “Avonte’s Law” would supplement a bill passed by the City Council that required, among other things, a survey of New York City school buildings to determine the need for door alarms to stop students from leaving schools unattended.



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