Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Oh, There He Is. WHEW.

So in yesterday's post, we talked about the ultimate fear so many special needs parents have... though I just babble on from the autism perspective this danger is not limited to our little corner of the world of special needs.

Here are a few ideas that were shared with me from others that could help:

Write pertinent information on a card and place it in his pocket.  Thanks to my sister-in-law and Ryan's kindergarten teacher.  Or take it a step further and grab some of these babies from the National Autism Association site. 

Write information on his arm in sharpie, then cover with liquid bandage... pretty cool, right?  I never would have thought of the liquid bandage.  Thanks to T for this cool idea!

If your kiddo will wear a necklace, make an ID necklace.  Thanks to J for sharing this!

There is a great list on the Autism Speaks website... click here for that one.

For Ryan, who will barely tolerate the wrist GPS they give us at Morgan's Wonderland, and who might or might not leave something alone in his pocket, I'm going to start with this.  He's been impressed with temporary tattoos in the past, so maybe we'll start there.

As I mentioned last time, we have a security system on the house that will alert us when a door is opened.  That helps me sleep at night for now.  He hasn't yet figured out the code to turn off the alarm, and we set it so that the house will all but explode if someone opens the door.  But how long will it be before he figures out the code?

Something we haven't done but have to do is get the kid swimming lessons.  The hard part of that is finding someone to teach him here in town... or someone who is willing to work with him. I've seen tutorials online of how to teach him to swim, so maybe it's time to put those to practice.

All these preventative measures help.  They're doing part of what we can to keep him safe.  But the fact remains that a temporary tattoo or a card or bracelet or a sharpie doesn't have the power to take away the fear that one of these times he'll just disappear.

So what's the answer?

The best answer I can come up with is to do what we can, and make careful decisions about where we go and how.  We already have, for years, assigned a person to Ryan.  Even between Eric and I.  We don't just send him from one person to another, even just in a store or at a party, especially outdoors.  One of us looks at the other, MUST make eye contact, and say, "You have Ryan."  And the receiving party has to say "I have Ryan."

So part of the answer is diligence.  But we already do that, and we've about lost our precious boy several times lately.

The only answer is that our fear must spur us on to greater diligence.  Greater problem solving.  And at some point, we have to forgive ourselves.

I still feel terrible about nearly losing him.  EVERY. TIME.  This trip to was not the first time he's wandered.  The first time was when he was two and he made it out of the house and almost to the street.

We have to keep going, we have to keep living.  We have to go to the grocery store.  We have to take walks.  We have to be in a crowd every now and again.  We can't let the fear paralyze us... and the times it does, we can't condemn ourselves.

We have to extend to ourselves the grace and mercy that Christ extends to us... while remembering that sometimes the fear has to be a catalyst to learn more, and sometimes it's just something we have to bear.

Thanks be to God over and over for our kids, and for bringing Ryan back safe every time so far.

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