Last night I looked my blue eyed boy in the eyes and said to myself “it could be you. It could be you to wander off, no matter how locked down the house is. No matter how many eyes are watching you. No matter how tight I hold your hand. You one day might wander away.”
This past week the autism community lost 3 beautiful children. My heart is broken for their families and as a mom of a child on the spectrum I am now more worried of the safety of my child.
My son got his diagnosis last June. We live next to 2 ponds, a river that is down the road. My son loves water. He loves playing in it. He enjoys going swimming. My only thought is “how do I prevent this?”
I read the stories of Mikaela Lynch, Drew Howell and Owen Black. Their parents were minutes if not seconds behind them. The police were contacted right away. They looked and searched, but everything happened too quickly. If you do not have a child on the spectrum yourself then u most likely don’t know the statistics of children on the spectrum wandering or “eloping”. Half of all autistic children wander away at least once before the age 17. No matter how many locks we have on the door, it still happens. No matter the amount of eyes we have on our child, it still happens. No matter how tightly you hold their hand, it still happens.
When people like me in the autism community hear of these stories, we don’t ask “where were the parents?” “Why weren’t they watched better?” We already know. They were there. Trying their best to watch after their child. We know how scary it can be. The constant worry.
Unfortunately you can’t autism proof your life, no matter how hard you try. You can lock your doors and you can do everything in your power to protect them, but this happens, this happens time and time again. And here we are. Here we are understanding how easily this could of been one of ours. We are here extending our hands and opening our hearts because like myself, I think of my child. My blue eyed, big smile and light of my life son that is on the spectrum. He sees no danger, only adventure and that is the scariest thing I think about.
Mikaela Lynch, Drew Howell, Owen Black and any other child that lost their life to wandering. Rest in Peace
And to their families we are here. We are all here.