Autism & Wandering – One moms worries

My husband and I were having a debate this evening.

And the topic of our youngest being a wanderer and our concerns for her as parents came up.

We both don’t want to be overbearing, or controlling but with a child with an Autism diagnosis the truth behind kids with Autism wandering off is it actually is a big scary thing for a parent.

I know for both of us even on a daily basis we worry about her. She wanders far less now that she has gotten older, but she also has the sweetest most trusting little soul. Sometimes she gets lost in thought and will wander into the arms of just about anyone.

She has minimal boundaries with people she doesn’t know.

We talk about strangers. We try to instill safety into her teachings but sometimes when lost in thought or what we call zonked somewhere else she wanders off.

And it’s fucking scary for a parent.

There’s no hiding behind that truth.

One day I picked HBE up after ballet and noticed her zonked expression as she wandered off towards the door even after I called her name and waved to show where we were waiting.

When they are away from me I get pretty bad anxiety. I worry probably more than most parents.

But for an understandable reason. I think.

I hope as she grows older and socially matures I hope my worries grow less. And with age comes a maturity and understanding for danger.

Her wandering goes in phases.

She has an ability to slip off within what feels like seconds leaving us all in a panic looking for her.

Our property is fenced in which gives me a huge piece of mind.

But I’m grateful she doesn’t wander daily. I don’t think my nerves could take it.

What I wish I knew about sensory meltdowns before the diagnosis

There was a time when sensory wasn’t in my vocabulary and I was clueless to a lot of behaviors.  But these are just my thoughts on what I’ve learned over the years and how we handle meltdowns in our house.

When one of the kids is having a meltdown.  I don’t mean a tantrum either I mean a full blown sensory meltdown…I always try to take a moment and step back to look at the entire picture.  See what is causing the meltdown.  I let both my kids meltdown as they need to.  It needs to come out, then we need to work together to see how we could have helped prevent the meltdown.

The meltdown is always a product of a variety of things.  You see your child isn’t sobbing uncontrollably, or hyperventilating over the fact that they couldn’t get their pants up  easily or because they dropped their toy.  It was the straw that broke the camels back.

In our case it’s been a major upset in our routine.  We started school this week, and even though its at home there are different rules in place and it’s different than the usual.  Then there’s the fact that Miss H has started ballet and has been gone from the house for 2 hours a day.  EBE has struggled the most with this.  And he worries about her, he’s a sweet little soul.

And Miss H is loving her new profession as a ballerina, she is such a social butterfly.  But anytime we get home (or in the car) from exciting activities like this we usually have a lot of struggles after.  As exciting as it is, it does cause sensory overload.  She doesn’t remember to use the bathroom as often, she forgets to eat, it’s a combination of things.  Thankfully we have weighted blanket that someone so generously gifted to us.  It’s gotten so much use, and truly is helpful when the kids are on overload.

And in these moments I’m exhausted.  It’s hard to watch your child struggle.

But it’s only a fleeting moment in time.  And I know the meltdown will end.  This is just part of growing, and changing.  This is part of our journey with Autism.

But I will tell you.  There’s a gentleness to both my spectrum kiddos, a kindness for everyone, and heart for things that the typical don’t always see or understand.

So I will tell you this.  If you are overwhelmed and exhausted after your child’s meltdown.  Also think about how they feel.  They are growing and working through something.  Help them. Rather than give it another label.

Labeling it won’t effect the outcome, but providing coping tools, sensory input, a lot of love can make it easier on everyone.  A few essential oils helps out too.

Danielle