Friday, September 17, 2010

Street Wars: I Brake for Autism

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Pretty much since G's been able to walk, he's been a runner.  I joke that he was late to walk (14 mos.), but then he made up for lost time by just getting up and running.  Fast.  With therapy, sensory diet, hard work and maturity, he's made improvements in his impulsivity and running away, but we still have to be vigilant and stay right with him.  Every time I give him 20 feet he takes a mile - so to speak, and runs into the road when I least expect it.  He rarely hears me shouting to stop or any other key words/phrases that we've tried.  Corners are the worst.  We have power play battles at every corner.  He's getting better at stopping, I start my stop commands about 50 feet in advance.  But at times he'll go 5 feet into the street, halfway across, or even just a couple of steps, then look back with a grin.  I just can't seem to get the seriousness of the consequences of running into the street into his bright little mind.  I've stepped up the drama and urgency in my explanations.  I've moved from talking about getting hurt, breaking bones, to going to hospital, to dying.  Nothing seems to hit home with him.  Lately he's a bit obsessed with emergency vehicles so injuries, ambulances and hospitals take on an exciting prospect for him. 

Every few months I give up the battle and retreat to the back yard instead of playing in the front yard or venturing out into the neighborhood.  I've been working on it more intensely over the summer until now, hoping repetition will finally work.  It's worked with other dangerous behaviors, but I'm still diligently working and waiting for the light bulb to illuminate.  I welcome any tips to combat our street battle. At times he turns it into a game, but mostly he simply lacks judgment and is unpredictably impulsive. Sigh. This too shall be overcome eventually I hope.  I pray.

So, I was ready for a laugh today, overdue.  Once again on our way home from picking up his big brother at the bus stop, G ran ahead 20 feet and right into the street, ignoring my commands.  I got him to come back, face me and look at me (ok, head faced in my general direction).  Here's how the conversation went...

G, you crossed the road without looking!
What could happen?  I could die

That's terrible!  Would Mama be sad?  Yes

Would Daddy be sad?  Yes

Would (sister) M be sad?  Yes

Would (brother) N be sad?  No

Gotta love the honesty!  Of course his big brother would be sad, but G feels the typical brotherly rivalry.  Thanks for the laugh, G!  I brake for autism, I also brake for laughs.   Often!

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