Boy with autism reunites with special bear after mother sparks widespread search

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Jessica Hoffart said she was out with her son, Lucas, when the 2-year-old's "best friend," a teddy bear, sometimes called Teddy and sometimes called Bear, went missing. 

Losing Teddy was particularly stressful because Lucas, who has autism, is used to having Teddy with him each day. The loss disrupted Lucas' daily routines.

"As Lucas has autism, it's very hard for him not having his best friend and safety toy," Hoffart wrote on Facebook. 

"He feeds the bear, he takes the bear to bed, he takes the bear everywhere he goes. He has dinner with Teddy and whenever he is walking, he holds the bear. When he has meltdowns … he really needs the bear," she told "Today."

This is Teddy, he is Lucas best friend and is missing. He was last seen on October 8th Brittania (Might have fallen from...

Posted by Jessica Hoffart on Monday, October 10, 2016

Hoffart said she thought the bear might have fallen out of Lucas' stroller on Oct. 8 when the mother and son were traveling around Toronto. 

When her Facebook community wasn't initially able to help her find Teddy, she got worried. Hoffart tried offering Lucas another bear, but he refused it and contined to ask about Teddy's whereabouts. The company that made the stuffed animal no longer manufactored the same teddy bear.

"It was very hard for us to keep on our routine," Hoffart told "Today." "It was sad not only for him, but it was sad for me, too. It was like part of my baby was missing."

So Hoffart increased her search efforts. 

She made posters. She searched around the neigborhood. She created a Let's Find Teddy page on Facebook and a Let's Find Teddy Twitter account

Eventually, her efforts went viral, and television outlets picked up the story.

"That support was incredible," Hoffart said. "People know it is hard for autistic kids and how hard it is for them to be without safety toys or safety blankets."

Just three days after Teddy went missing, a woman came forward. Sandra Morales said she had been walking to the grocery store with her son when they saw the bear on the ground. Her son picked up the bear with plans to keep it. But that was before Morales saw Hoffart's story on the news.

Teddy and Lucas were later reunited.

"He was jumping and skipping with how happy he was," Hoffart said. "He grabbed the bear and hugged the bear and put the bear near his face. I have no words to tell you how surprised and how happy I am with all the response."

Hello everyone! Our journey is not always easy. But for sure always worth it. I believe that I am learning way more from...

Posted by Let's Find Teddy on Wednesday, October 19, 2016

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