Monday, December 1, 2008

Autism signs and "concerned" neighbors

Isaiah loves school. He loves school so much that sometimes when he wants to go, he tries to escape from the house to “take” himself. Because of this we added a higher bolt on the door that he can’t reach – and even with a chair he wouldn’t be able to operate it.

We also have chimes on the front door, door to the garage, and both sliding glass doors. The sliders are always kept locked and Isaiah can’t operate the locks. At the top of our deck stairs we have a gate. At the bottom of our deck stairs we have another gate. Isaiah can’t operate either of them.

Because he’s been diagnosed with PDD-NOS (a mild form of Autism), we have taken these extra precautions and had the city put “Autistic Child Area” signs up at each end of our street. Isaiah doesn’t look like the poster child for autism. In fact, just looking at him you’d only suspect that he’s a bit small for his age or that he was younger than he is. His communication skills are a bit behind and he’s obviously a bit immature. But, he’s not a danger to himself or anyone else. He just takes a little bit more patience in some areas.

One thing we are sure of is that he’s afraid of any more water than what is in his bath at night. In fact, if we put in too much water, he tells us, “That’s enough,” or to take some out. We have a lake outside our back yard and even though he’ll never be outside alone, we’re not worried that he’ll try to go down to the water by himself. He’s not adventurous at all and will only very rarely try new things. He is very set in his ways and has to follow his routine. Exploring the outside on his own is not something that he’ll do.One of our neighbors across the street noticed the signs. We’re not the only family with a small child in our household but for some reason she decided that she needed to come over and ask. I wasn’t home when she came so she got to talk to Amy. She “wondered” if the signs were put up because of Isaiah and was worried about her backyard pool.

Now, this sounds fine and dandy and very thoughtful of the lady. That is, until she opened her mouth again and said, “I’d hate for a child to fall in our pool because the gate isn’t always closed. I’d hate to lose our house because someone sued us.” She’s no longer sounding concerned for Isaiah’s safety; she’s sounding worried about losing her house.

Ah…. Autism bites.

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