Autism and Wandering

One of the things about having a child with Autism is that they have a tendency to wander. It may be because they don’t realized they shouldn’t and they are in their own little world or it may be that they run from something they are scared of. What ever the reason, it scares the crap out of us parents.

My son has disappeared a couple of times on us while out in public and he has wandered off from grandma’s house and home. I can’t tell you how terrified we were. I live in constant fear that one day he will slip out and we won’t find him. Luckily we live in a town where almost everyone knows my son, but what if….

The lovely people from Quality Life Concepts, our family support, turned me onto the BIG RED SAFETY BOX.

It is put out by the National Autism Association. Which is great resource by the way.

I signed up and donated $10 and they sent me the Big Red Safety Box. In it there was  lots of handy stuff.

NAA’s Big Red Safety Box includes the following resources:
1) Our Be REDy Booklet containing the following educational materials and tools:
A caregiver checklist
A Family Wandering Emergency Plan
A first-responder profile form
A wandering-prevention brochure
A sample IEP Letter
A Student Profile Form
Emotion Identification Cards
Wandering Quick Tips
2) Two (2) GE Wireless Door/Window Alarms with batteries
3) One (1) MedicAlert Bracelet or Pendant, and One (1) Shoe ID tag*
4) Five (5) Adhesive Stop Sign Visual Prompts for doors and windows
5) Two (2) Safety Alert Window Clings for car or home windows
6) One (1) Red Safety Alert Wristband
7) One (1) Child ID Kit from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

Sometimes help is actually available. You just need to know where to look.

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Ah crap, I’m healthy.

I know. Healthy is a good thing right?
I went in for my “birthday labs” it’s a yearly blood check of everything. The clinic here gives it at a discount rate during your birth month. It is a wonderful preventative measure.

I dutifully went to see the vampire and had my blood drawn early in the morning. By the next morning I already had the results arrive in the mail. Never expected results to be that fast!

I read through the rows and rows of abbreviations with google in one hand trying to decode their meanings. Some were in bold type. Uh oh.

Cholesterol. That ominous factoid that is tossed around so often.
Mine was bolded. 119 and across from it was the range of where it should be 130-200. Wait. What? 119 isn’t even on the scale. What am I dead? Then of course the explanations say things like too low of number mean a risk of heart disease.

So I did the sensible thing and made a doctor’s appointment. Get it from the horse’s mouth. Once I’m at the doc’s and he’s looking at the numbers, he laughs.
Well, didn’t see that coming.
He grins and tells me that except for my weight which really isn’t that bad but is a little too high, I couldn’t be healthier.
Whhhaaaatttt!

I’m glad that I’m healthy. It is truly a blessing. I was just hoping something would be wrong to explain why I feel so awful. Headaches, weak muscles, depression, anxiety- obviously there’s something wrong.
Oh yeah now I remember – stress and not sleeping!
Ah the life of a mother of a special needs kid.
I read once somewhere that caretakers of special needs kids suffer from the same stressors that soldiers in combat do. I can see it.
The hyper-vigilance, the lack of sleep, the adrenaline rush and dump cycle that never ends.
However there is a major difference…moms don’t get to kill people when they reach breaking point, soldiers get paid to.
I guess I’ll have to be contented with being a healthy time bomb that’s been harnessed and dampened by love for my kids.
So yay me! I’m healthy!

Ok so after I wrote this I heard on the radio that the University of Ohio did a study showing that depending on how much stress a person has experienced they can gain up to 11 pounds a year. So where does that leave me?