Autism and wandering and AngelSense

May 21, 2015 by  
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I shared this story several years ago but wanted to share it again because it’s such an important issue and because I’m working with AngelSense to help keep kids with autism safe.

One of my closest friends has two boys with autism. I have watched her unload them from her vehicle, clinging to one while holding her leg across her van door to keep the other from escaping. If she doesn’t move quickly they will be off to whatever catches their twinkling eyes, undoubtedly in different directions.

On Sunday, her beautiful five year old boy followed his curious eyes right out of their home and past the garage door. She and her husband were both home but it only takes a second. That second when one of you knows the other is playing with your son and the other knows that you are feeding him lunch and he is in neither place. By the time the police arrived she was frantic. A neighbor had offered to look for him and her husband was searching as well. Officers spotted her son nearing a busy road but they did not approach him, for fear of his reaction. He weighs all of forty pounds, was barefoot and balancing his prized beanie babies but a police officer was scared off by the word autism.

My friend’s neighbor got to her son first, she comforted him until she could pass him safely to his mom. Today they are ordering alarms for their doors and combing through reviews for safety locks and introducing their boys to every person in the neighborhood while they try to shake off the could have been‘s.

This little boy walked/ran through a neighborhood full of adults, headed for something that caught his eye or a place he couldn’t quite communicate and no one stopped him. No one went out of their way to pause for a barefoot little guy running past with beanie babies in hand. The police didn’t help, only a kind-hearted neighbor came to their aide.

autism and eloping

Maybe we do need more autism awareness. Maybe we need better training and more communication and affordable tracking devices and plans to make sure that everyone, EVERY.ONE. understands how autism can affect a family. It may not be your child but it is one in every 68 children so it IS your neighbor’s child, your daughter’s schoolmate, the boy on your son’s soccer team. It takes a village. An understanding, empathetic village who doesn’t mind taking a step out of their comfort zone to make sure one little boy doesn’t take so many steps past his own.


To help prevent wandering and give parents peace of mind, AngelSense has created an amazing GPS tracking device for kids with autism. The device can be worn on clothing and will alert you as your child’s location changes. Created by parents of children with autism, AngelSense is one of the most comprehensive tracking devices I’ve seen.

AngelSense to track children with autism

Since Ashlyn has long since grown out of her running days, I was not able to review the product but love this comprehensive review done by Autism Daddy. I’m thrilled to be able to give away one AngelSense kit and one full year of service.

You can enter below…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’ll put the sugar in your bowl

May 6, 2015 by  
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Most mornings Parker wakes up at the sound of my laptop opening. He flops into the living room bleary eyed and I close my laptop before it gets a chance to buzz alive. I tug him close as he changes the channel from Good Morning America to the one full of superhero names I can’t remember. After he wakes up a little and I can’t sit still any longer, I get his breakfast. I grab his bowl and spoon and pour the Cheerios and the milk until they hit the spot on the bowl’s rim he decides is enough and he eats at our coffee table while I creak open the laptop again.

I’m sure there’s an expert on raising independent children who would love to tsk me for this ritual, making cereal for a boy who’s more than capable of doing it himself. But I like doing something just for him in the hours before everyone else pulls me everywhere else.

This morning I asked him what he will do when he’s older, when his mom isn’t there to pour his cereal and milk just right, hand him the sugar bowl and spoon. He told me I can come visit, “you can refill my sugar bowl when it gets empty Mom” he said, shaking his hair back over his brows as soon as I brushed it away from his eyes.

I pictured myself, old, forgetting even more than I do now, heading to his house to fill his sugar bowl every week, my new daughter-in-law thinking me insane. And him answering the door, holding out the empty bowl for me to fill, not thinking there’s a crazy thing about this arrangement because I’ve read “Love You Forever” to him enough times that he knows it could be worse. Then I see me driving away fully satisfied with the way I’ve cemented myself into his life, knowing full well his wife is trying to tell him they can actually buy their own sugar at the store but he’s waving her away all the same because he loves his mama.

My kids have grown past the baby and toddler stage and I’m not the hand over hand caretaker anymore. I’m the checker-inner, the tall glass pourer, the enforcer of face washing and bedtimes and memorizing the planets. I imagine as they head closer to their teens I’ll be sidelined even more, dropping off and picking up and reminding them about coats and seeing the floor of their bedrooms once in a while, inching my way into their lives when I can.

I don’t wish them little as much as I used to because it’s the coming back I love. They drift further but they always drift back. They ride their bikes from corner to corner and ditch me at the park but they come back for long stories and band-aids and the definitions of big words.

I love being their constant, the place they come back to when they’ve waded far enough. I like to think they’ll always come back to me when their sugar bowl is empty, whether it’s for love or reassurance or because they really truly are out of sugar. I’ll be here, no matter how far they’ve gone, ready to dish out whatever it is they need.

mothering as your kids grow