It was a Monday, one of those days where you sit down around 3pm and say to yourself "Well, that wasn't so bad.." as you knock on some wood before you jinx it! Except I must of knocked on some fiberboard or somthing plastic with grained contacted paper on it, because that's around the time everything changed.
It was Hulk's first Monday night wrestling practice, normally it's on Tuesday. Mr. Holland would be taking him after dinner. Everyone sat down and started eating, Doc asked her normal question "Can I have something else?" and we gave her toast with butter, her usual. Hey.. we tried, right?
After Mr. H was done eating he started getting ready to leave. Hulk ran up and down the stairs a few time to get what he needed, because one trip is not his thing. In the middle of all of this Doc had secretly gotten ready and was waiting in the mud room. During the day I had explained to her that daddy was taking Hulk tonight so I could stay home with her, but it was obvious she had her mind set on going.
I picked her up and brought her into the living room so the boys could get out of the house. She was already crying and beginning to turn into a puddle of goo. I held her until I heard the door shut and then let her go. She instantly ran to the door, unlocked it and fled out into the darkness. Luckily I was right behind her and caught her before she got to the bottom of the stairs. I brought her back into the house, kicking and screaming. In her mind she was going to go find daddy.
I took her boot off so it would slow her down if she decided to flee again, it's winter here. She calmed down for a bit and asked to go count her piggy bank money, so we did. I watched her as she shook the ceramic pig, counted the few pennies that fell out and then smashed them in her new purple leopard print purse. This perpetual activity continued till the pig was empty. Then she put the purse over her shoulder and marched into her room. I went in the living room, because I thought it was over, haha boy was I wrong... She came out with another pair of boots on insisting she needed to check the porch outside. I told her it was fine and we weren't doing that. Her mood quickly changed to angry and aggressive as she ran to the door and tried to leave the house again.
We spent the next forty-five minutes standing at the door. She continued to try to escape as I held the door shut with one hand and repeatedly locked the deadbolt with the other. Finally I picked her up and carried her away from the door as she kicked me with her boots. I sat her on the floor and explained that kicking hurts, not sure how much she comprehended as she ran to her room and slammed the door. This time I stayed in the mudroom, near the door and text Mr. Holland to explained what was going on at home. He told me that this is how she was last week when he stayed home with her. After some time all was quiet. I went and checked on her to find her snoring away with a pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey paper mask on as a sleep mask. She's such silly little girl.
A new study confirms what many parents know well: Wandering by children with autism is common, dangerous and puts tremendous stress on families. Importantly, the researchers found evidence that autism-related wandering does not stem from inattentive parenting. It also found that half of all parents had received no help or guidance on how to deal with the problem. Nearly half (49 percent) of parents reported that a child with ASD had attempted to wander or run away at least once after age 4. Over half of these wandering children (53 percent) went missing long enough to cause worry. In addition, 65 percent of these incidents involved a close call with traffic. Nearly a quarter (24 percent) involved a close call with drowning.
Dangers of Elopement The tendency of individuals with ASD to wander or “bolt” puts them at risk of trauma, injury or even death:
- More than one third of children who elope are never or rarely able to communicate their name, address, or phone number verbally or by writing/typing
- Two in three parents report their missing children had a “close call” with a traffic injury
- 32% of parents report a “close call” with a possible drowning
- Wandering was ranked among the most stressful ASD behaviors by 58% of parents of elopers
- 62% of families of children who elope were prevented from attending/enjoying activities outside the home due to fear of wandering
- 40% of parents had suffered sleep disruption due to fear of elopement
- Children with ASD are eight times more likely to elope between the ages of 7 and 10 than their typically-developing sibling
- Half of families with elopers report they had never received advice or guidance about elopement from a professional
- Only 19% had received such support from a psychologist or mental health professional
- Only 14% had received guidance from their pediatrician or another physician
- Enjoys exploring (54%)
- Heads for a favorite place (36%)
- Escapes demands/anxieties (33%)
- Pursues special topic (31%)
- Escapes sensory discomfort (27%)