Wednesday, September 14, 2011

In the News - Autistic Boy Lost in the Woods

Did you see this news story out of California, about the 8 year old boy with autism who was found after being lost in the forest overnight, during a thunderstorm?  He had been removed from his parents' custody after he was found tied to a post with a nylon rope.  Sounds horrifying, if you don't have children with autism. 

Sounds like too much of a real possibility, if you do.

This story breaks my heart.  I want to say I'd never tie my kid up to something, but who knows.... I've done a lot of things I said I'd never do, and it doesn't sound like his parents put him in danger -- on the contrary, they were protecting him.  But that is something that a parent of a neurotypical child might not understand.

The Department of Children and Family Services should have understood that, though.

To think that the Dept. of Children and Family Services, local law enforcement, and the Superior Court all saw what this famiily was doing as a danger to the child.... now of course I don't know the details of this case.  For all I know, the media totally misconstrued this story.

All I know for sure is, I can see the possibility of us being in this situation, and it scares the bejesus out of me.  Because my boys are runners.

Often people don't understand what we, parents of autistic children, have to do to protect our children from the world and from themselves.  If I didn't have a fenced in backyard, I could never, ever open the door and just let my sons run outside.  Not unless I was no more than an arm's length away from them.  Because they will run into the street and keep on going.

Did no one understand that they were just trying to keep him safe?  Was he tied up too tight?  Was he crying?  Was there another reason for them to take him from the home?  I hope it was fully investigated.  As much as I don't like to think the parents WERE doing something they shouldn't have.... I hope the three entities responsible for making the decision to remove this boy from his parents had darn good reasons.

Because I bet being removed from his home and his parents caused him unbelieveable anxiety and fear.  I bet it made his behaviors worse.  Which in turn they'll probably blame on the parents, somehow.

It just scares me.  The lack of comprehension on the part of the authorities.

"He was looking for us," his dad said, of why he ran away.

He probably was.  Nobody would know better what his reasonings were better than his parents.  And the thought of one or both of my sons being taken from me because of someone not understanding the things we sometimes find ourselves doing, to protect them from the very kind of misunderstanding that probably occurred here.... and then running away to find me.....

I know my boys are "momma's boys."  They are attached to me.  They are happier and more relaxed when they are with me.

I can imagine the terror these parents felt, knowing their boy was out there somewhere, lost and afraid and looking for them.

And I think if this were me, at this point, I'd have an unbearable amount of rage inside me at Child protective services.  I don't know how they do it.  I don't know how they don't explode with anger at the system that was supposed to protect this kid, and in fact just ended up putting him in even more danger.

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