Thursday, November 18, 2010

Danger- Autie Kid At Work

Over the past few weeks Bob has been hellbent on a mission to disprove Newton's Laws of Gravity.
In addition to his usual ninja style scaling of walls and flooding of bathrooms, he has taken to lighting matches, licking razor blades (yep, you read that correctly) and smashing eggs (ingeniously, down the back of radiators).
This is in addition to his long-established tricks of  climbing on the kitchen cupboards, wedging himself between the top of the bookshelf and the ceiling, and wriggling from  his big brother's bunk onto the top of the wardrobe.

Did I mention that he likes to climb?
Like a shark smelling blood, he is attracted to danger  at a five mile radius.

Keeping our autie kids safe devours an enormous amount of our time and attention.
Many autie parents have mastered the art of sleeping with one eye open as their kids have been known to climb out windows, or unlock doors in the dead if night.

As a result we live in a self-imposed prison.

I go about my daily work with a bunch of keys in my pocket, and methodically re-check doors, windows and any possible escape route at regular intervals to try and prevent him running away again.
(Bob is a bolter and has been found heading for the hills on  many occasions, despite our every attempt to keep our home on military lock-down.  On one occasion a neighbour mercifully  returned him to us before we even missed him).
I kinda wish I had OCD so all the checking wouldn't be such a pain in the gluteus maximus.

It's become a way of life for us, but now and again I have to remind myself that this is not normal.
I worry about the effects our hyper-vigilance will have on Bob's big brother and sister, and hope that it will not lead them to becoming anxious, neurotic adults.
Now that Winter is here Bob isn't so inclined to go outside, and although we can't let our guard down, there is less likelihood of him running away at the moment.

Maintenance of safety is an element of autism that is sometimes overshadowed by issues such as communication difficulties and toilet training, but it is relentlessly exhausting and mentally draining to live with.

I am clinging onto the hope, as more veteran autie parents tell me, that safety issues will become less prominent as the child matures, and the benefits of education become apparent.

In the meantime, I guess all I can do is dress for the job and jangle my keys with style.


  1. Oh yes yes, i am the same,i even had to change our locks because my dear son got out and i had the gaurds at my door,and my dear son is into break and entering people homes and he is only 9.The flooding i understand as well, i often wonder if i should get my own personal ark to save our two dogs and one cat.My dear son also raids the fridge Eggs are not top of his list unless he gets it into his head,he would like a fried egg,but as usual when no-one is watching its the ham and cheese he will go for and then he has three best pals to help him to eat it,if are they lucky to get some. And yes it is a 24/7 job dealing with austism but i love my son,and when i get kisses and bear hugs,who gives damn about the ham and cheese i just brought today. His two sister's will egg and mayo sandwiches for school and his other brother who has a milder form of autism will have his usual bread and jam for school.

  2. Hang in there Jean. I can see how draining it is always checking the exits and patrolling the perimeters. It is a testament to you that Bob remains safe and secure, the boy is an escape genius. The little innocent face he has when asking to be let out would have fooled me many a time. I gave him my car keys for heavan's sake...

  3. Is that how you spell heavan? Not that I will ever need to know.

  4. Hi Jean! I'm with you 100% on the sleeping with one eye open, egg smashing and key jangling! Its exhausting, maybe we'll laugh about it one day?? xx

  5. Smashing eggs behind a radiator takes a lot of skill but, thankfully, is only dangerous from the possible pong later on! I don't know what to say to you, we haven't reached that stage yet, not to the degree that you have anyway but yes, I have bolter too and as he gets bigger he will find it easier to escape. I will be remembering your tips! Jen

  6. @ anon, the hugs and kisses def make up for the mayhem
    @ Alison, he's a master con-man
    @ lifeasweknowit, I live for that day!
    @ Jen, with a bit of luck your dude won't have the travel in hope

  7. I'm familiar with your difficulties. Flooding the bedroom - check. Substitute light bulbs for eggs. Lighting matches to light fire-lighters to light the computer. Running now includes public transport. One eye, one ear and spidey senses activated at all times.
    I'm not saying it gets worse, it just gets different.
    Have fun!

  8. As the Mammy of an aspie I have a different set of problems, but I'm certainly a bit OCDish about checking stuff, and it doesn't seem to have done my 28-yr old any harm xx

  9. @ yarglags, after reading your blog I can see how the autie mind evolves...his escape plans are masterful!
    @ Blue Sky, on balance I reckon it's better to be over-vigilant and risk anxiety issues than to have Bob hurt himself or run away

  10. Griffin used to be a wanderer but grew out of it thank goodness so I feel for you, it's not an easy job.

  11. Yes. Gosh, I spent the whole post nodding (and it took me nearly 3 hours to read it, thanks kids).

    Amy was a bolter too. However, she got attacked by our rooster about 3 months ago, we got rid of the rooster, but the phobia has held. It sounds cruel, but I am SO grateful for her phobia of the 'big' yard now, as it keeps her close to the house and safe (we've got a suburban sized back yard fenced in the middle a large paddock). It has been a saviour, because otherwise she was off whenever she got a chance.

  12. It is exhausting. But I'm sure that you look far closer to the hottie in the photo than the maintenance man/custodian/janitor that I could pass for most days.

  13. @ Lora, it's great to hear he grew out of it
    @ Veronica, do you lend that rooster out???
    @ Lynn, if only you could see me now...skanky pyjamas, ratty (but cosy) dressing gown, hair that small creatures could live in...I'm so hot I sizzle!!!

  14. I hope i can reassure you a bit that C grew out of most of these things and his older brother is a well rounded wonderful young man :)

  15. Yes, it does become a way of life, and we get used to the continuous spontaneity of our children, their unpredictable nature never ceases to amaze.

    Amy goes through phases of "strange" behaviour. But we need to remember that for her (and indeed a child with autism), it may not be strange at all, just perfectly normal.

    CJ xx

  16. Well, at least you are suitably attired for the job in hand. Looking good! My, Sir Bob is something else...eggs BEHIND radiators?? Wow.
    A bit of maturity, education and interventions will hopefully ease those tendencies of his! Meanwhile keep jingling those keys....stylishly of course :-)

    xx Jazzy

  17. Yes, it gets better! To the point where I can read this post without cold shivers. Surprisingly, despite all the thrill seeking experiiments, Max never injured himself... We never had eggs broken behind the radiator though. And I never rocked the heels look either! Go you!

  18. @ Cadoc, that's reassuring! Thanks
    @ CJ, that's an excellent point
    @ Jazzy, I shall do my best
    @ Sandrine, again it's great to hear some reassurance
    Thanks gals!

  19. Oh my goodness, you do have your hands full! I hope for your sake that Bob grows out of escape mode, and soon!

    Thanks for stopping by Lemon Drop Pie!

  20. @ Ginny, lovely to hear from you XXX

  21. "If a job is worth doing, it's worth doing in heels."

    Wonderful story that made me laugh!