Someone's been peeking at our life again. Read this Snagglebox post on Wandering that I spied on MyAutismTeam.com and yes.
Yes, yes, oh dear heavens, yes. That's us.
At the supermarket. In the parking lot. At the beach. At the park. During exciting events at our Town Green. At school. At night. It could happen, and so I am worried.
I dress James in the brightest possible colours so I can track him, especially from afar. In parking lots I tell him specifically where he needs to go before he opens his door ("Stand on the sidewalk" is much more effective than "Don't go out into the parking lot".
If we're in a new store he stays right by me -- I get him to do this by having him help me push the cart or look for specific items near us. I really can't turn my back on him at the beach. We stopped riding our bikes in the park because it became too dangerous. I've lost track of him for minutes so scary it seemed like hours at the Town Green.
School interprets his wandering as a toss-up between a behavioural issue ("testing behaviour") and not wanting to be at school and has recommended he be pulled into a program away from mainstream kids. While I can see where they are coming from, James would not be getting any tools out of this solution that might help him to better be able to express how he's feeling or communicate what he wants. It makes total sense that he would wander away when overwhelmed, but how to safely manage this while not wrapping him in cotton wool has been a familiar dilemma.
And when I discovered he'd started awakening at night at random times and would leave his room, I could not sleep well myself at night. For the past two years I've been largely sleeping on the sofa out where I can see and hear him better. After months of prompting steps to get him resettled, he is starting to manage to self direct himself back to bed. It's not 100%, so the sofa and I are still good friends.
As far as information from his pediatrician about this, we've not heard a peep from any of the four he's had since birth. It would be nice to know how other parents are coping with this silent worry.
|James at the beach this New Year's Day.|
I tracked him as he wandered.