Single Moms Raising Autistic Sons

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Sunday, June 11, 2006

My Fears and Griffin's Safety

This a post about my greatest fears and one of them is me losing grasp of his hand and having him run off into traffic or getting lost. That is why, shown here, Griffin has on this harness with a leash. When we go out in public and he is not in a cart like in the grocery store, then I put this harness on him just in case. He is quick and when he has gotten loose from me I could barely catch up to him. I don't even care what people comment on when they see him in it or what they think because his safety is way too important for me to care about them. Another one of my fears is if we had a fire in our apartment and even though his bedroom is right next to mine I often wonder if I would be able to find him. What if he became disoriented and began to wander about or crawled under something. It really really scares me because he has no sense of fear himself, he doesn't understand danger at all.
As with any other caring and concerned parent I wonder about these things and hope to protect my child the best that I can. However, there are times when I feel helpless at the thought of something happening. I have put 2 extra smoke/fire alarms up, one in each bedroom in order to better help warn me in the event of a fire but I sure wish that there was something else that I could do to help me feel that he/we are safer. I even put an information packet on the front door explaining Griffin's autism so that the first responders would know, and hopefully are properly trained, that an autistic child is inside and how to best deal with the situation. I also have all the emergency information posted on the inside of the front door with phone numbers of those to contact in case of an emergency. It also states that Griffin may run away from someone offering help, he doesn't understand danger , and that he may fight with someone offering help. Are these fears rational? Or am I just a wacko lunatic who happens to be paranoid? Regardless of all my fears I try hard to allow Griffin his freedom and as much independence as possible because I know how important that is for his development.
If anyone has a comment or you have words of support to help alleviate my fears then I say "Bring it on" please, by all means. Love to you all and hugs :)


Loving Liam said...

Sorry, I can't help with your fears because I am the same way. I am a teacher and actually "lost" a little girl with downs syndrome. It was the scariest 15 minutes of my life. We found her wondering around campus, but it affected me profoundly. I am actually blogging an experience that happened at my parent's house today that addresses this issue.
Also, we are going to a theme park in a few weeks and I know that Liam is not going to want to stay in his stroller so I am picking up a harness myself.
Sorry I wasn't much help. Sounds like you are doing all you can to protect your son, so try to relax.

Sam I Am said...

I understand your fears all too well. My Sam is a runner. He too doesn't understand streets, cars, danger at all. No matter what we do for social stories, preparation, picture cards, he still runs. I too purchased a harness a year ago. I have an incredible peace despite the occassional glares, which you just have to ignore. I did find a harness that is too cute online. It is a monkey on the front and a tiny backpack in the back of the harness that you can stuff the monkey tail (leash) into when not using. I have found the glare of others judging me is less with it. If you are ever interested, I can e-mail a pic or the website, if I can find it :)

Hang in there. I can't even handle us playing in the front yard. Sam's 4 year old little legs are getting faster than I.

You can do it. Safety is first no matter what. That is what I have decided. You are doing the right thing!!!!!!

Ann said...

you are doing the right thing, no matter if your child is a special needs child or not. To a mother the thought of loosing her child is unbearable it is our nature to protect our babies no matter how old they are. Who cares what others think about the harness it is your peace with yourself that counts. Those little ones are precious and all mothers understand that.

K.C.'sMommy said...

Hugs my dear friend Lora,
I sometimes have dreams that K.C. is running from me but I just can't catch him! He is always within arms reach in my dreams and it feels like it is so so real. I love the you are using the harness with Griffin! It's for his safety, I know how fast our kiddos can be! When they start running it's hard to get caught up to them! The harness is a great idea!
Fires are so scary! I think you are doing all the right things for you guys' safety. Before I go to sleep at night I always make a final check of the kitchen. I guess to make sure the stove is off. If Griffin can reach any of the knobs to the stove take them off and put them away where he cannot reach them.
You are doing the right things to protect yourself and your little one. You are a wonderful Mommy and a great friend. You are doing the right things:)
Hugs to you and Griffin,

JodiTucker said...

Sounds like you're doing the right stuff. I used those harness things years ago because I had three kids in a four year period and I simply could not chase them all at the same time!! The younger two had harnesses and the oldest did not. They worked wonderfully! Now, a concern of mine (but not an overiding fear) is driving. All three kids drive and there are always crazies on the road, so that is my prayer now for their "grown-up" safety.
My thinking may be a bit different regarding my kids in general......they were all given to my husband and I as gifts from God and we consider them "on loan" from Him to raise as He would want us, but leave the final outcome to God. This has left me with much more peace and joy about their lives then anything. Of course, we love them dearly, at ages 21, 19, and 17. Yet, in reality, you can never protect a child, young or old, from 100% of all the bad stuff. You do the best you can and pray!!

Melissa H said...

Lora -

After the ice cream parking lot incident, you know that I understand all about darting children and how fast it can happen. I think that the harness is great.

As for the fire fear? One thing that might soothe you is that most fire departments here will give you "Tot Finder" stickers that you can put on the windows of a child's room. Then, if there is a fire, firefighters know to get in that room FAST and save a child who might not be able to get out on his own. You might want to ask your local fire dept about them and see if they have them.

Loving Liam said...

Hi. Stopped back by to give the link for the monkey harness Laura was talking about.

Gina said...

When we became mama's our number one job became our children's safety. Looks like you are doing it very well. I did try this harness for Luke but couldn't bear the looks (although I know it makes a huge amount of sense). Luke also tends to start laughing and leaning away from it like it's a game and spends a lot of the time on the floor. So it didn't quite turn out so well for us.

Lora said...


Thanks for the link, I really appreciate it. I think that I am going to get one for him it is really cute.

Wendy said...

Whew! I was worried that some of your comments would be negative. I saw a little girl with a harness on the other day and furrowed my brow. Shame on me! I'm the mother of an autistic son, after all! I just figured her parents were ridiculous for making her wear it. It never occured to me that they might have a really valid reason for doing so. Sigh. Anyway, if you're ever worried about the glares you'll get when he has the harness on, wear your "I love someone with autism" shirt. That should get the message across.

Mr Ornery said...

Sounds to me that maybe aside from the 'tot finder' stickers someone else suggested, you have done what you can do to be prepared. And if being a loving, concerned, and caring mom makes you a 'wacko lunatic', then I'd say the world could use more 'wacko lunatics'.