Today I am doing a shorter, (ish), post since I am far from home typing on my cell phone. In fact I will apologize a head of time for any errors. Today a story on my Facebook time line made me really wanted to touch on something very near and dear to my heart. That something that has brought me many tears over the last six years and it is wandering.
I will give you some statistics. I am sharing these to educate, not out of fear mongering. Please do your own research too. According to the National Autism Association an estimated 48% of children with autism are likely to wander or bolt from a safe place. That is almost four times that of their non ASD counterparts. A staggering 91% of ASD children 14 years and younger who died during the years 2009-2010, was by accidental drowning. Most were due to elopement. Children with ASD are more likely to be drawn to water.
If you haven't experienced this you might wonder how it could happen. And even question the parents ability to do their job. It's not that simple. Some children are always in the bolting mode. A split second of looking a way can be all that it takes. Having to be in a hyper vigalert state 24/7 is exhausting. Not being able to even use the bathroom without your child being locked in the bathroom with you.
Another example of elopement that is a bit trickier, would be a person who blots when they are suddenly overwhelmed. This is the type that catches you completely off guard. They may go months inbetween episodes. You may think that you are in the clear. Maybe, just maybe, they have out grown it. You relax your guard a bit. But, then you find yourself running in flip flops trying to catch them before the make it to a busy road.
One of the scariest examples may be someone who when they suddenly become upset not only runs but hides too. Just as you give up and are about to dial 911 you find them and have to get them to calm down, so, that you can remind them that they have to answer when you call their name. You tell them how you love them and need to know that they are safe.
You might get to hear from other parents how you should spank your child and teach them a "lesson." You on the other hand know better. You know that when your loved one leaves the safe place they are it is not because they are being definent, naughty, stubborn or malicious. It is much more complex then that. And your best defense is to try and get your loved one to realize that when the feel that way running will only hurt them.
Maybe you also will find yourself praying. Praying for those who have lost their child in this tragic way. Praying for those who have someone missing. Praying for your child, that they will never become another statistic.
Two days ago little 2 year old Malik Drummond walked out of his Searcy, AR home while his mom was bathing. As of this morning they sill haven't found him. He is whom I pray for today. I pray that, against all odds, he is found safe and alive. I don't know that there exists a solution for every case. Remember the next time you come across a story like his that it could be you. It could be your child lost and alone. Share their story and pray. The more people who know the facts then maybe more people will pay attention if they see a child alone.
Lord have mercy on Malik and his family.