Stories of Autism: Thanksgiving Scare

Hi everyone!
I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving and got a chance to enjoy all your friends and family this year! Now with Halloween and Thanksgiving out of the way it looks like now we’re ready to gear up for Christmas and then the New Year!
Movies seem to be the theme during our Holiday seasons.
Halloween time sees me scrambling to find all the scary movies and then as soon as November 1st rolls around I’m picking through all of our Christmas movies.
Something about having Home Alone playing while we put up the tree just makes it feel like the holidays! Then there’s Christmas Vacation, The Grinch, Elf… I even scrape the bottom and dig out Christmas with the Cranks and Jingle all the Way. LOL
This year though, I had the brilliant idea to go on Netflix and skip to every Christmas episode of The Office and watch them! So watching Michael Scott and Phillis fight over who gets to be Santa and seeing who Belsnickel deems impish or admirable might become a new tradition!

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With all the cheer and bustle that comes with the Holidays, for us Autism parents there’s always the alertness and awareness that comes with having a special needs child.

For those new the the world of Autism it can be quite overwhelming but even for us seasoned veterans there are times when something so upsetting happens that it almost damages your soul…

Before I start I should tell you we have heavy cement blocks parked in front of our exit doors. Not too heavy for an adult but too heavy for the average 5 year old. We have dead bolts and we also have a high chain lock and an alarm on the front outside door but not on the inside door leading to the garage.

On to our story…

Me and Jessica woke up Thanksgiving morning to a loud thump! The first thing through our minds was MICAH!! Now he usually sleeps with his 17 year old brother but he was at a sleep over. Micah slept in his sisters room that night and because of the holiday we had slept in just a little. Micah on the other hand has an internal clock. Apparently he is in fact strong enough to move the block!

I’m half naked but I jump out of bed in a haze! Run to the front door where my daughter and wife were already telling me Micah got outside!

I’m in only my boxers and it’s cold out. So I run as fast as I can throw my pants and shirt from yesterday on and dash outside to one of the neighbors telling me he “saw the little guy in nothing but a shirt and diaper”, and that he “watched him run up the hill towards the road”.

My first reaction to that was shock that a person would see such a thing and not do anything to stop him!! I didn’t have time! I got in my car and drove as fast and as careful as I could in the direction he went frantically looking for my son!

I stopped a lady walking and asked if she’d seem him. She didn’t. I drove a little further down the neighborhood, turned around and back tracked. Watching around every turn in case he ran out in front of me! I drive back up to the end of my driveway and that same neighbor is flagging me down. “I think one of the neighbors has him in their house. I saw them flag your wife down and she said, ‘oh thank God!'”

I look in my rearview mirror expectantly and finally see Jessica walking towards us with Micah in her arms! She’s losing it and crying so I know I can’t lose it as well. She takes him in and I just sit there for a just a minute and let it pass not letting myself cry.

He was perfectly fine, happy that he got to have an adventure but his diaper was full of wet #2 and he needed a bath.

My mind went to problem solving mode. How did this happen? Apparently he was strong enough to move the cement block and tall enough to stand on something to release the chain on the door. He just flipped the dead bolt, opened the door, pushed the garage door button and he was out!

My mistake was not putting a contact alarm on that particular door!

We went back the store, bought another alarm and put it on. Two days later guess what we wake up to? Micah was up to his tricks again but this time I was ready! That alarm sounded like all hell was breaking loose and he didn’t get out! Now I just hope he doesn’t figure out how to disarm it! He’s a smart cookie and I’m not going to underestimate him again that’s for sure!

The thing is we have GPS device that we pay for monthly but at night it has to charge so he wasn’t wearing it. It’s a great device from a company called Angel Sense and it tracks him really well. If he leaves the perimeter we set, we get a text and we can set locations with there own perimeters. If he leaves in a vehicle it will say he’s in transit and even give us his speed. I promise I’m not being paid to plug for them but this is the best GPS for special needs there is. The call center is even run by all Special Needs parents!

AngelSense

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The contact alarm for the doors we just got at the local Meijer. Those are only $15 for a two pack and they also have motion sensor alarms that are available.

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Yes, we had a scare this Thanksgiving morning that put us in a state of fear and uncertainty.  Knowing that what happened could have ended very badly and wondering if this was a “not if but when” situation. Like “it’s only a matter of time”.  However, we have to push those thoughts far away and not live in fear. We have to do all we can however we also have to let these situations make us all the more vigilant with our special ones.

Keep in mind the book of James in scripture says “you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”

Here it’s telling us tomorrow is as uncertain as the wind, no one knows when their last day on earth will be and we have no way of knowing what tomorrow will bring. Even me writing this with no disabilities or limitations could die tomorrow by chance and it could all be over, or I could live to be 100. What’s important is that we know we’re doing all we can.

We love while we can, as much as we can, to whoever we can. We cannot live in fear. We have to move on with hope and always focus on the positive. 

Because well… we have to.

~Daddy Genius

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