Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Autism & Wandering
I am sure you heard the story of Nadia Bloom last year in the news. She wandered away from her yard into the woods and was missing for days. Unlike most children with autism who go wandering, her story had a happy ending. She was found alive, thank God.
As a parent of a child with autism, this is something that is always in the forefront of my mind. It is literally like having a 2 year old all of the time. Remember when your child was 2 and you couldn't take a shower if you were the only one home because you had to constantly keep your eyes on them? I have been doing that for almost eight years. Some of you have been doing it longer, I know. When we walk through a parking lot I have to keep my hand on him at all times for fear that he will dart in front of a car. You know the routine.
Last year at my daughter's birthday party we had probably 20 people around.....many adults. We were in the back yard cutting the cake and I walked into the house and asked another adult "have you seen Jack?" They said they thought he was out with me. Panic set it in. You go into mode: Running from the upstairs bedrooms, looking in closets, then down to the basement and in the garage and cars. People calling for him looking inside and out. I just about lost it. My neighbor just happened to call down to her house (3 houses down) to check with her kids to see if they had seen Jack. He was down there. Just walked into the house and no one thought anything of it (they all know and love Jack). But that fear is an awful one. One that I don't ever want to feel again! It can happen in an instant, even to the most attentive parents. Wandering is how many children with autism end up drowning.....in many cases within minutes. Below are some links to great resources that can help prevent wandering.