Sunday, February 13, 2011

Safety and the Autistic Child

I know I've typed before about safety concerns with Zachary, particularly about crossing the street and parking lots. We've worked through that. Not as a parent would work through street and parking lot safety with a "neuro-typical" child--reminders and timeouts just did not work. The solution really was (is) quite simple, Zachary holds my hand or arm. We still practice all the time, I still have him look both ways for both of us when we are crossing (and don't worry, I look too cause otherwise I'd not by typing this right now lol). I was finding myself getting a little bit frustrated and impatient, until the "Aha" moment. I was sitting at a traffic light in town as some school kids began crossing and walking home. A father and son came up to the crosswalk, and I noticed the boy looked to be about Zachary's age; they caught my attention quickly because they were holding hands. You don't see that too often with kids that they crossed the street I knew--the boy had special needs (probably autism) and he was holding onto his Dad more than the other way around. The light bulb that went off over my head was so bright it actually seemed to buzz audibly! (okay, yea I just admitted again to the hearing things in my head, I know) Z just isn't ready and I was trying to push him to a level for which he was not ready. Simple as that, I hold his hand whenever we're in the street or a parking lot. It's not a struggle, there is no fight, as a matter of fact it's usually Zachary reaching for my hand or arm, just as he does in stores or other crowded places. I am his rock, I am his centering place, and I don't have a problem with that. I wish others could understand but I understand that most do not (or will not). I let him go when he is ready to be let go, and I nudge him in those directions when needed-when he finds his way on his terms, the pride and accomplishment he feels and expresses are rewards that no words could ever describe.

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