If there’s one thing I can count on, it’s my blog buddy, Lizbeth, from Four Sea Stars, to bring a great story to the table. She’s been kind enough to be the first contributor to the series, Safety and Special Needs.
Be sure to visit Lizbeth at her blog, where you’ll find many more crazy, funny, and poignant stories about raising her her kids, one of whom has Asperger’s.
Lizbeth, Four Sea Stars
I’ve often joked that my son has a running relationship with cars, specifically the side mirrors. And by relationship I mean, they hit him in the face when he walks by. Every single time. Alex doesn’t have any real sense of where his body is in relation to where other things are around him, so he often runs into walls, misjudges distances, bumps into people, stands too close, etc. We’re on a constant vigil for things that may cause problems.
When he was younger, we lived in a house that had an open floor plan with one small detail—it had two steps down to the main family room. It was the house that we brought Alex home to and we grew used to those two steps and never really thought much of them. Alex never thought of them either.
He fell up them, down them, rolled over them, on them, tripped down them and one particular time forgot they were there all together…..and landed in the Emergency Room and went right into surgery.
Having forgotten about the steps, he careened over them and when he landed, he bit through his bottom lip, he bit clear through it, and it had to be stitched back together. And since he has sensory issues, those stitches in his mouth were replaced no less than three times before we just gave up—he would relentlessly chew through them. I can’t begin to tell you the horrors of watching your child chew his mouth into hamburger and how bloody that was. Enough said.
That was when he was three.
So we’re always on the look-out for things that we know he will run into, not see, or not even be aware of. Which brings me to the car mirrors. My kid is a magnet for them. We could be in a wide open parking lot and he’d still manage to smack into one. I would intentionally park away from other cars, I still do. Trust me, I’m not parking in the back nine to get a little more exercise, it’s to protect my son. There was a period of time where he had a series of black eyes from running head first into a car mirror.
I can’t trust he won’t be busy in his own thoughts and not be aware of what’s around him.
And that brings me to a bigger issue. I have to be his eyes and ears—all the time. I can’t rely on him to pay attention to his surroundings. I can’t depend he’ll see oncoming traffic and I certainly can’t expect him to walk across a parking lot unattended.
So for us safety is not a given. It’s not something we take for granted and its not something we take lightly. It’s something that keeps me up at night. I’m constantly ticking off where Alex can get hurt, lost, wander away or run over. And I’m being dead serious here. The amount of time my neurons are firing, thinking of all the ways to keep him out of harms way, is astonishing. I can’t trust he’ll look both ways at a corner and I can’t expect him to look up from the ground to see the car mirrors.
So the next time you see me and I’m out in the nosebleed section of Target’s parking lot, know I’m not there for my health. I’m there for my son’s.