The funny thing is, I intend to blog here just about every day, so my intentions are good. However, by the end of most of my days, I couldn’t string two words together to make a sentence if my life depended on it. I bet many of you can relate to that!
Hayley is doing quite well, actually. We go outside every day that weather permits, so that she can play in her fenced-in area. Most of the time she spends that time walking or jogging laps around the inside of the fence, chanting lines from whatever show or game or story is stuck inside her head at that moment. She likes to re-enact scenes from her favorite shows – Dora and Backyardigans.. over, and over, and over, and then a few more times.
I met with the special needs team from the local elementary school a few weeks ago, just me and about 8 staff members around a table, to discuss Hayley’s potential needs if she enters kindergarten in August. I have to say, I was rather impressed with their focus and interest – I left with a far more positive impression of what they have to offer than when I arrived. That having been said, I still have safety/security concerns. Hayley is a runner – a bolter, to be precise – and of course, she has no concept of personal safety. They agreed that 1:1 staffing would be necessary, at least at first. To reiterate, I still have a lot of concerns. We’ll see.
In the meantime, with all of these things considered, as well as the drowning deaths of two autistic children who were also wanderers within the past two weeks, I have been trying to do a little research on what (if anything) I can do to help keep something tragic from happening to us. I am going to share a couple of links with you for those of you who have similar issues. I am not recommending these links and products, as I have not yet tried them, but I am just sharing them as an FYI for those of you who want to also check them out. The first is a nice article at The Friendship Circle Blog – this is an article with listed resources for wandering children with autism. I have looked it over, and I believe I will try at least one of these products. If I do, I will let you know how well it functioned.
Another link I found was one to The Mason Alert – check it out.
I have to say, I am not shocked, but I am disheartened by some of the judgemental posts I have seen about the mothers of the autistic children who drowned recently. Let me tell you something; I am pretty doggone vigilant. I babied my oldest child, even though he was not autistic, and I baby this one, and am actually very, very obsessive about Hayley and her safety. VERY. But let me tell you about a little incident we had a few weeks ago. We came back from the store, and got out of the car. It is about 20 feet from her side of my vehicle to the porch door. For once, I didn’t have her forearm in a death grip from the carseat to the porch door, and that was one time too many. She felt that I was not gripping her, and bolted away from me like a gazelle. I began running after her. (mind you, we live at the very top of a six story or so tall hill, with very steep slopes and rugged ground, that eventually ends at the very bottom almost right at the road) So, I was running and trying not to fall, and at the same time screaming, “STOP!! HAYLEY, NO!! STOP!!!” as loud as I could, even though I KNOW that has NO effect on her. She was still running full tilt down the hill. You know what stopped her? Eventually she lost her footing and tripped – while she was picking herself up to run again, I caught her. NOW. It took about 3 seconds from the time I released her forearm, when we got out of the van, for her to bolt.
My point is, unless you are superhuman, things do happen. I am ridiculously obsessive about keeping her with one of us at ALL TIMES. Hayley has never in her life been alone. But it could happen to any of us. That is a fact. To act holier-than-thou about these families that have just lost their beloved child and blame them seems to me to be adding even more harm to them at an already horrific time. If only people could stop judging others long enough to be supportive and help one another, the world would be a much more loving place. Just my opinion, but since it is my blog, I will always state my opinion here.
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