Friday, June 22, 2007

Out our own front door...(Journal#75) the neighboring suburb of Blaine, where yesterday afternoon, yet another autistic child was found dead. Five year old Kaylie Dickerson wandered out of her home without her family knowing it and wandered across the street into a pond. As the autism community in this area just mourns the loss of another autistic child who wandered away last week and died, in which area people here even volunteered in those search efforts in neighboring Wisconsin, yet the tragedy happens again. While we did not know them personally, goose bumps and heartache for the family is what I feel.

According to news reports yesterday and today, even Kaylie's family had all the necessary things in place to make sure she would not wander away, according to police.
~I am guessing that they too, like us, have a security system that also alerts you when someone is coming or going when the system is off.
~I am guessing that they too have a visual PEC system card near the door, that visually tells the child to stop before going outside and ask an adult.
~I am guessing that they too have a fenced in yard.
~I am guessing that they too have some type of indoor sound/video system to monitor their child in the house when they are not in the same room.
~I am NOT guessing, because I KNOW that we are all a part of the same local autism community, I know that our children are both 5, I know that our hearts ache for them.

Out our own front door is a lake. That has always been a concern. But geesh, in the land of 10,000 lakes, that is a little hard to avoid. Out our own front door, is a reminder that we should not let our guards down as we have a little this year. Up until this summer, anytime I am outside with Sam, I would hold him by his wrist (tightly) because he would not hold my hand. We had to always do this because he did not understand safety and would dart in to traffic and always away from us like a toddler would do. I know people thought it was ridiculous that we always had such a grip on him, but he was unlike our oldest, who understood by 2 years old what danger was. When I say we have let our guard down this summer, it is because Sam seems to understand a little better his boundaries and rules at home lately. He still goes out of the house without asking, but this summer we have been less worried about always having our security system chimes on that even alert us to which door. As of today, they are back on.

Safety is such an issue with all of our autistic children. For some it is that they are completely non-verbal and are unable to express help when they need it, for others, like Sam, is that they don't understand safety, or perhaps the way we teach it to them. We can not play "that game" parents play when they need to leave a location. You know the game...when the child refuses to go with you, and you say, "okay, we're leaving, see ya later". Sam is just fine with that, and innocently starts walking away to do whatever he wants to do next and pays us no attention. It is not in the naughty sense either, it is purely that he doesn't understand that he can not be left alone.

Out our own front our neighboring suburb, we mourn for Kaylie's family.

Out our own front door...and across the street, we have the reminder that you can never take our kiddos safety for granted.

Out our own front a world we pray will keep all of our children safe.

Out our own front door, we are reminded of just how unsafe it can be for all of our children. Sometimes, no matter how prepared we are, the unthinkable happens. Once again, we feel unsafe. But there is one place we can seek safety and peace, for we all know that God provides that for us. Kaylie is now safe and back in his arms again.

We depend on the Lord above to save us. Only he can help us, protect us like a shield.
~Psalm 33:20


KC's Blog said...

My heart breaks for the families.

To this day I am still traumatized from K.C. escaping and winding up in the middle of traffic. Now when he isn't within eye shot of me, I go into panic mode and immediately look for him. I have everything in place so that he can't escape but still, I am very haunted from him escaping that horrible day.

The feeling is the worst, gut wrenching state of panic you will ever feel.

Prayers for the families and for all of our children.

mysamiam said...

KC's mom~ I too remember the day KC did that too. Thinking of you too.

Unknown said...

So sad--and then to have reporters breathing down your throat too.

We do need to pray for the families and for our community.

kristina said...

Thanks for this, but it's so sad. An autism consultant I hear last week talked about how our kids don't know they are lost though we think they are-----I've been thinking about that ever since.


My daughter escaped from the house when she was 3 and thankfully we were able to find her straight away. Now we have altered the house to make it as safe as possible.I cannot possibly imagine what it must be like for the families but in the time that my daughter was missing I have never felt such terrifying fear. My heart goes out to the families.

kristi said...

I am just torn up for these families. My son is able to go outside alone and I watch him like a hawk. Usually he doesn't go past the swingset but he does move quickly!

Club 166 said...

Our son used to purposely bolt from us in a crowd (it was a great game to him). It made it near impossible for us to go out with him and his younger sister if there was just one of us.

I always used to hate it, but for a while (from about 3-4 years old) we used one of those "wrist leash" things when we would go out with him alone with the two of them. It was that or stay home.

Fortunately we're past the "always running away" stage, but Buddy Boy will still rarely elope from the house, when he really feels the need. All the social stories, locks, monitors, and alarms, and all it takes is several seconds for them to be gone.

It remains one of my deepest, darkest fears.


Sarah said...

Wow. Hard to read and I haven’t been keeping up on the news. We have a pond close by to our house. Sandis communicates very well, but also does not have a good regard for his own safety. Soon after we moved to our house Sandis wandered off to this pond behind our new house, and by the grace of God my daughter ran to me when she saw him wander off and pointed me in the direction he had left. It only takes a few moments for a child to disappear from sight, and for anyone who has a child and also anyone who has a child that does not understand personal safety, this is a very real and daily fear.

Joeymom said...

Our big worry is the street. There will come the day when we can't keep Joey from the door key. Alarms only work if you are awake to hear them.

I still get jibes about how closely I keep an eye on Joey. Even in Chuck E Cheese, I keep constant vigilance. Bathrooms are interesting- water is dangerous. If he gets lost in the tubes, he could meltdown and not be able to use words. He could try to walk out with a stranger, or dart out when teh door person is looking elsewhere. Other moms just don't get it. Their kids run wild- but their kids answer when called...

mumkeepingsane said...

"It remains one of my deepest, darkest fears."

I'm with Joe on this one.

Patrick has always been a bolter. We have 3 locks on our door, an alarm letting us know if the door is opened, we watch him so closely...and it still might not be enough.

I feel such anguish for these families.