As part of my daily routine, I check the news sites for any new information on Autism. After a few outrageous articles about a certain celebrity with wrong and potentially damaging ideas about Autism, I found a BBC piece on a mother who is struggling to make her home safe for her two autistic children. Unfortunately, the cost of the materials are too high, and she can't get either a loan or any kind of financial aid to help.
The celebrity was forgotten, and I started to look at the process my wife and I are currently in, trying to make our home safe for our sons. Baby-proofing doesn't really work for autistic children, because they are smart. Almost too smart for their own good. For instance, my son was quick to figure out how to get a door to open, not just when it's locked, but when it is locked, has a chain, and the chain is out of reach. He also has figured out how to open any fenced in area that has a gate, without someone showing him how to open it.
So, we are working on a way to help keep him safe and out of the road where young drivers tend to speed as fast as they can. Here are some tips I received from friends of mine, and they may help with your family as well:
- Get Door Alarms: Often called Alsheimer's alarms, or Autism alarms, these are door alarms that ring locally, and have different sound settings so you can tell what door is open. They are magnetic, and make for an easy install and monitor.
- Get A Fence: We had already fenced in the back yard, but we are now working on fencing in the front yard as well. The type of fence depends on what your city will allow. We are looking at an iron fence, since I can't stand vinyl fencing, and chain link fences now have an ordinance against them in West Valley City. That, and I love iron fencing, painted black, with pointed tops. It has the whole "Mad Scientist Manor" look to it. ^_^
- Children's Gates - Lots Of Them: We currently have two children's gates for our kitchen, and we are going to purchase a third as soon as we can. The idea is that each gate slows Jonathan down just enough that he may not make it outside before we can finish changing Scotty. Of course, that's when Jonathan makes his break - when we are busy with Scotty. Like I said, he's one smart cookie.
- Get a Child Locator: I have found several for $30 to $40, and they work up to 150 feet. The nice ones are the ones that start beeping loudly after your child gets outside 50 feet.
There are a lot of good techniques for keeping your child safe in your home. If anyone has other ideas, please feel free to post them!