Monday, December 17, 2012

What you can do

If you follow me on facebook, you saw me post about this over the weekend.

Those of you who wonder why our 6ft tall chain link fence is always padlocked... why we have the screen door set up with an extra lock at eye level, why we still have a kiddie lock on the door to the garage... why Dominic's room only opens into ours at night (and there's a kiddie lock on his other way out... Why we have an alarm system with all the doors set on it capable of beeping every time a door is opened... why even when one of us is outside too, its rare to see Dominic in the front yard.... this is why. Brace yourselves.

This is a huge fear of ours and we do our best to mitigate risk in our day to day living. We want Dominic to have some room to be free (see aforementioned 6ft chain link fence in the backyard), but we need to keep him safe. We live 4 houses up from a very busy street. There would be little to no time to catch Dominic if he took off running. So we do not give him the opportunity to. While we have considered a remote monitoring device (like the project lifesaver Cathy mentions in the above article), we have not gotten to the point of seriously finding one.

The responses to my facebook post varied from “I must be cutting onions” to “I had no idea” to “What can we do to help”. And this blog post is hopefully my response to the last.

We are, right now, in a fairly balanced place with Dominic which is better than many times in the past. Not having the Alpine bill and massive supplement bill each month has given us some breathing room, so something like babysitting for us to have a night out is not on this list where it would’ve been a few years ago.

That said. Here are some things that you can do specifically to help us

~ Understand when we would rather have you over to our home verses coming to yours. We want to see you very much and miss you tremendously, but its much easier on Dominic (and us) for him to be in a space that is familiar. (and Dominic proofed)

~ That said, instead of choosing not to invite us to gatherings because you “don’t know how to feed Dominic”, ask. He’s not that hard to feed, and if gluten, dairy and soy free is beyond you, its okay – we will take care of feeding him. We will also have one eye glued to him the entire time to make sure that he is behaving appropriately in your home. We will not allow him to behave inappropriately.

~ Getting a break is important for our sanity. And we have a babysitter who Dominic loves who will come over just about any time. So we would love to get together with other adults. We don’t get to do it often enough.

~ When you are around Dominic:
Don’t react if he starts physically stimming. Reacting makes him think that it’s a game and/or he’s a comedian and so he does it more. Most of the stim’s are gone, but occasionally we see big hand waving and flinging himself on furniture for the sensory input.

Don’t talk thru/around him. Catch his eye, speak slowly and don’t get annoyed if  you have to repeat yourself. He can communicate, you just have to have some  patience around it. Don’t confuse him by speaking about yourself or him in the third person.

~ Don’t refer to him as autistic. He is not defined by his illness. He is an extremely loving, funny little boy who has autism. Autism does not have him – we won’t let it.

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