By Melissa Lake – Contributor
Safety is important for all of us, including differently-abled people. The following paragraphs will inform you of what I face with my son, Logan, and hopefully help you understand some of the more common issues that arise with autistic children during the summer months.
You may hear many times throughout the year about an autistic did a certain water-related task. Water is a communication that Logan enjoys on a sensory level. It splashes, it’s cold, it’s hot, it rolls down a faucet and into his little hands and communicates an either a hot or cold reaction. It can be calming, it can be exciting. Before you say my child would never stick his hand in the toilet, my son, after learning to walk, was found sitting in the toilet flushing it repeatedly. It got a reaction of shock, squeal, and then “lets get out of the toilet, into the bathtub.” So, unfortunately, I was stuck in a moment of giving into his needs, and finding that he enjoyed doing that many times after, because he would get a bath. But more importantly, I would really want to direct your attention to drowning. This can happen many places: in the tub, in a pond after doing something such as chasing a balloon, in kiddy pools, normal home pools, and even worse, the city pool. Yes, that’s right. Even if there is a lifeguard does not mean he or she understands you or will even remember what you said about your child’s autism. It is imperative to make sure the lifeguard is aware of the situation in case you have to step away for a moment. Logan had a near-drowning experience in a pool two summers ago, but luckily his dad was able to quickly get him out of the water. Now he only likes hot tubs and above ground pools since he can stand up in them.
HOME OR BUILDING FIRES
A safety person is always with Logan, but in times of emergency, a safety spot is our tree all the way by the road. If there is a fire, or natural disaster, someone must always be in charge of the situation. Stay Calm, and get your plan of action to get all out of the home immediately.
RUNNING A.K.A. “BOLTING”
Medical Alert bracelets have yet to impress me. However, I am looking to some way, somehow, find one that works perfectly for Logan. He does not wear what he does not want to. I do not allow my son to go beyond the eyesight of myself. Our home has a security system, yet I still hang bells for alertness. All windows are screwed shut as he has attempted running several times, and succeeded to get to his sister’s in-laws home. Again and again he has found ways, and I just keep finding ways to bypass his escapes. I believe the whole country mile knows Logan, as most of them have brought him home, called the police, just to be told that the parents will be there before they get there (and they are usually right).
I am usually so close to him, I often wonder if I will always have this on-guard feeling in my oath of Logan’s Parenting, and if I am hurting others by protecting him from unknown but usually later discovered danger. I know this for sure: my two other sons and daughter re-assure me that he is a high-maintenance brother but they wouldn’t have it any other way. Although I want him to have his freedoms, this weighs heavy on my mind.
I keep Logan’s medicine in a ziplock bag, with a schedule of his doses, and reminders of his extra needs. When all other family members get sick, they get their own ziplocks with their names and extra info. It is important to do this for myself, because I am not super woman. I do need assistance from my daughter and husband. If something should happen that I was unable to care for him, all of his information is together on paper: Dose time, amounts, behaviors, doctor’s #, poison control, etc.
WEBSITES I FIND EXCELLENT AND USEFUL
Obviously I cannot tell you everything that will work for your child, but this is what works for Logan, I have found several websites that you can go to and find more information to answer your questions.
I encourage all parents of the differently-abled to learn to use the Google search engine, as it has a variety of resources and continues to update daily. I also encourage you to have a plan for your child or adult with autism, differently-abled, and young children. Educate yourself; autism is not a cookie-cutter situation. Every child is different in many ways. My favorite saying is: “If you know a child with Autism, you know one child with Autism.” And lets not forget “The only predictable thing about Logan is that he is unpredictable.”
Good websites if you’re interested in learning more information: