A HUGE concern of parents of autistic children that are similar to Trenton is the fact that they wander away. I am always thinking 10 steps ahead of Trenton. I truly do believe that I was born to be an autism mom. To begin with the past two days have been a huge indicator of how much my parents sacrifice for Tim, Trenton, Andrew, and myself. All of my family is out of town at Uncle Brent's house. The last two days I have had more of a realization of what it would be like to not live by my family that helps and it is impossible! An autism family has to live by family that will bend over backwards.
Today, Tim and I took the boys to the park. There was a lot more people than I imagined but things were going fairly smooth for the first 20 minutes. The boys had fun on a bounce house and their smiles were priceless. Andrew wanted something different. Tim took him over to the blow up maze. The blow up maze was the size of a small house, but not as tall. When Trenton was ready to move on to the next thing, I took him where Daddy and Andrew were.
Tim was standing on the north side of the maze where you enter in. Trenton wanted to go in so I let him. However, I immediately got uneasy when I realized that it was impossible to see him the whole time. Tim stayed on the north end of the maze while I walked the maze over and over while I constantly said Trenton's name. I immediately realized that the maze was not "autism proof". I ran over to Tim and said that this maze was toddler proof but not autism proof. I think he thought I was crazy but I am around Trenton way more than Daddy is and have done far more research to know what is safe for him at his severity level and what is not.
The maze was set up where a child like Trenton could lift up the bottom even though it would have been difficult and get out. Many normal kids would not think of that because the maze would be extremely fun to them. Anyway, I made my rounds walking around the maze constantly. I was constantly yelling up at Tim on the north side asking if he saw him. All the other parents were standing on the north end by Tim but, of course, that is what parents of normal kids do.....they relax and just watch. There can not be that with Trenton.
I was constantly doing everything I could to make sure I could see him while I was pacing around the maze. There went several seconds and I could not see Trenton. I was yelling at Tim asking if he was at the north side with him but he didn't hear me. I ran up to Tim and said, "I don't see Trenton... you have to help me look." Andrew came running out of the maze but, no Trenton. I started yelling his name and asking the kids in the maze if there was a little blonde haired boy with a red and blue stripe shirt on in the maze. No child could answer me. I ran in the maze tearing it up in a state of panic. I never realized that ones mouth could go from normal to straight cottonmouth in a matter of seconds. My mouth was so dry I couldn't even talk right right. I soon realized I couldn't breathe. I tore up the maze in a state of panic! The second I realized that Trenton was not in it I yelled at Tim to go... run... and look. Tim took off running to the west end. I was running up to every person I knew telling them that Trenton was missing. I was yelling at strangers. I kept saying, "My son is missing! He has autism. Help me." I didn't know whether to run to the pond that was so close by or to run to every ride in the park. I kept scanning the whole crowd yelling as I was running up to the various bounce houses. I needed someone with a huge intercom getting everyone in the park on alert. After ten minutes of hell and right as I was turning to run to the pond, I saw Trenton being carried across the park with Tim. I immediately dropped in tears. I will NEVER forget what it felt like to look at him for the first time after he went missing. The good Lord heard the most fervent thankful prayer that second that He has ever heard!
I am very thankful that he did not run to the pond which was very close by but instead ran clear across to the opposite end of the park area to the original bounce house. Although I spoke to a person who ran to this bounce house before Tim and he did not see Trenton. This leads me to believe that Trenton went somewhere first before he went to the original bounce house which is very scary.
I took Trenton's hand and went to the van.
If you Google autism news weekly, it is almost a guarantee you see a new case of a missing child with autism. It happens often with these children and it is scary. I live in fear for this.
The following is from an ABC article
Nearly half of all children with autism will run away and potentially go missing at least once before their 17th birthday, according to a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Of those who run away, what clinicians call "eloping," many will be found dead.
The numbers alone present a challenge for law enforcement authorities, who regularly rank searches for missing children among the most difficult work they do.
But finding children with autism -- who shirk when their names are called out, who run away at the sound of police sirens, who are afraid of the dogs sent to find them, and who naturally are comforted by burrowing and hiding -- makes a hard job even harder, investigators say.
One in 50 children is diagnosed annually with autism, a spectrum of neurodevelopment disorders marked by problems with social interaction and communication, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. As the number of children who are diagnosed increases, so too does the number of kids who run off, leaving rescuers to learn quickly how best to handle a unique set of challenges.
On the one hand, autistic children are more likely to run away than unaffected children. When they do runaway, they are more likely to die than unaffected children. And more often than not, 91 percent of the time, those deaths are a result of drowning
Trenton either got out one of two ways. He either lifted up the bottom of the maze and crawled out with his enormous amount of strength he has for a 4 year old when I was pacing the other side......Or he ran out of the front entrance where Daddy was when Daddy was looking around and not looking at the maze. Now, Trenton is super fast...like way fast when he has his mind on something. Trenton did not have dirt on his hands, knees, or clothes which makes me think he could have ran out the front entrance following other kids. If he was in the maze and suddenly remembered the fun he was having on the first bounce house then he is faster than anything you have ever seen. I have seen this way too many times!! Another theory is that he was in the maze and didn't like it. Therefore he wanted out and he can't say "mom" or he can't say "help" because he is non-verbal so he lifted the side up when I was on the other side and ran.
Either way it happened does not matter. What matters is he wandered off and we had a happy ending this time.
I don't care what I look like when I am out with Trenton. I may look like a stressed out mother but everyone has to be like this or situations like we had today will start happening. Next time we might not have a happy ending. What happened today justifies what I said a week or two ago in a post about how it takes 3 plus people to take Trenton and Andrew out in public. Trenton needs at least two people who are always ten steps ahead at all times! There is no relaxed-down time with our kids. Nothing is fun....nothing is relaxing...ITS ALL ABOUT STRESS AND BEING ON HIGH ALERT!!
I guarantee I don't sleep a wink tonight. I have not thought about anything else today.....