As with most situations in life, our family’s situation at this time is a little different than most.

I see all the posts and memes about social distancing and being quarantined, and realize I come pretty close to living that way all the time, anyway.

I am going to be totally honest in admitting that I would love to be quarantined to my home for weeks. Quite frankly, I get sick of the go, go, go of our schedule, and would just love to sit back and slow down for a few weeks. Granted, I would rather the world not be in this state where quarantine and social distancing is necessary in the first place.

What you have to understand, is that going to my son’s therapies is a necessity for his well-being and for our family. It would shock and amaze you how much a child with nonverbal autism can regress in a very short amount of time when taken away from therapy and routine.

I am so thankful that it is noticed how essential the services provided by LifeScape and similar places are, and that they remain open during this uncertain time. They are most definitely “essential” to families like ours. They have many precautions in place to keep those of us coming and going healthy and from spreading germs, even if they did judge me SO HARD for that one sneeze that one day.

Gus is missing speech and OT therapy, as well as his time with the special education teacher through/at the school with it being closed down. This is hard because his speech therapist at the school was his very first, and he absolutely adores her (as do I). On a happy note, we are going to try these therapies via video conferencing this week. With Gus, things have to be pretty hands-on, so we will see how it goes. I know he will be excited to see their faces!

Things, thankfully, have not had to change much at all for any of us, except our daughter. Preschool is shutdown. Release time (her church class once weekly) is shut down. She is sure missing her friends and teachers.

With all of this change to her schedule, you would think it would really mess with the rest of our schedules, especially since with all of the health precautions going on at LifeScape and her being unable to come to therapy with mom and brother or go to work with dad.

This is where the real MVP shines…our daycare provider! Before all of this, Ada already attended daycare one day a week, and for a few hours the other days of the week. Now, she just goes to daycare (where they are also implementing extensive safety/health precautions) until we (as in the world) figure this all out and know what the next steps will be.

Things have changed, in that it is harder to find groceries, toiletries, and cleaning supplies, and that grocery stores and other shopping centers are filled with panic stricken and rude individuals. We have definitely experienced that first hand.

Ada had to spend her 5th birthday at home this last Saturday. While it is disappointing that she didn’t get to do what she really wanted (Chuck E. Cheese and an icecream shop), and that it has to be so hard for her to understand, I think she still had a great day with family.

While I am not an “essential worker or employee”, I do see myself as pretty essential to my family right now. We are doing our best to stay healthy – physically, mentally, and emotionally – as well as keep those around us safe. It’s not always black or white or this or that.

I’m not here to give my opinion or find out yours. (Granted, mine shines through some when trying to explain what’s going on with me right now… This is a blog after all.) I just thought I would share what this time looks like for my family, since none of the things being shared or talked about regarding quarantine and such really apply to us.

I do feel more stress and anxiety. A little of this stems from fear of the actual virus, but the majority of it stems from my disappointment in society as a whole. I am not going to go into detail. No time for that. I will say (type) that I am scared for the future in seeing how things have played out during this pandemic. I, more than once, have had my finger hovering over the “deactivate profile” button on my social media account these last few weeks.

All I can do is my best and keep the big picture and the big guy in the forefront of my mind.

Anyway, I just wanted to share a quick snippet.

Stay well!

-AMomsFaithUnbroken

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

The Controversial Child Safety Device

The “anti-lost strap”. The “walking harness”. The “hand belt”. The “wrist harness”. The “child harness”. The “safety harness”. The “backpack leash”. AKA a child leash. They come in many forms, shapes, sizes, and colors. And boy, are they a hot button issue.

In this blog post, I will refer to them as a leash, because plain and simple, that’s what they are.

I remember the first time I saw an adult with a child on a leash. I was in a mall, if my memory serves correctly, The Mall of America even, and I had to have been 4 or 5-years-old. It was an entirely foreign concept to me. I had never seen it before. I remember the adults I was with having some not so kind comments about it, which made sense to me.

I grew up thinking, and continued thinking well into adulthood, that leashing a child was lazy parenting and abusive to children. I kept this position on the topic until the tables turned.

Before I go any further, I want to talk about a story that inspired me to blog about this topic. I considered this topic in the past, but then felt maybe it wasn’t worth the controversy or feels. You see, blogging is a way for me to sit down and think, deal, and feel…feel intensely; really dig deep and share my thoughts and feelings. Sometimes, I struggle to motivate myself to blog because I don’want to deal with the feels, even though I know how good it is for me to just do it.

The Story that Inspired this Blog Post (click this to read)

It was all over the headlines the last week and a half or so. Maybe you saw it. (?) An autistic 6-year-old boy from North Carolina was at a park with his father and his father’s friend when he took off running and his father could not catch up and lost sight of him. They searched for him for days before finding his lifeless body in a marshy area in 2-3 feet of water. When I came upon this story and read it, I literally shed tears and my stomach sunk in a way that is hard to describe.

Autistic individuals have a tendency to bolt. I have mentioned this before in previous blog posts, as my son is a “bolter”. Also, drowning is the leading cause of death in children with autism. They do not fear water and do not understand the consequences of entering the water.

The first time my son bolted on me, he ended up well over 100 yards away from me at a dead run and did not respond at all to his name or anything else for that matter. Thankfully, his dad was able to catch up to him. It was scary and made me realize just how fast it can happen and how fast he can move!

The reason this hit close to home is because, as mentioned, my son bolts and does not fear bodies of water. Also, per his therapists, it is recommended that we use a wrist leash to give him some freedom while outdoors or in situations dangerous for “bolters”. It will give him more freedom and also give caregivers a break from carrying a curious wiggling always moving 35+ pound 2-year-old everywhere to keep him safe.

Yes, leashes have their dangers. A wrist leash can be dangerous in that if the child falls down and the leash is used to help assist standing it can dislocate the child’s shoulder or wrist. But anything can be dangerous. That’s why we have to do our research so we can use devices as they are meant to be used to avoid injury and accidents.

A child leash can be used as a helpful safety device or as a mechanism to show control. Obviously, I just want to be able to enjoy events and outings with my child and keep him safe. It’s not as easy as just keeping my eye on him. It is impossible to keep your eye on any one child all the time. Literally, all the time. My child requires constant overseeing to keep him safe, for now.

I did get a wrist leash for my autistic 2-year-old child. I did this to keep him safe.

I am already well aware of the stares and the looks I will receive because I used to give those looks and stare myself. It is so easy to judge and misunderstand until you come to a place where you find out that putting your child on a leash is literally the best thing for his safety in some situations.

I will do anything for my children. Anything. Even if it means looking like a lazy or domineering parent.

It is impossible to know someone’s situation, and this for me has been the perfect example of why we should not judge.

This isn’t the only situation I’ve come across in that my views have changed significantly. We live. We learn. We evolve.

– AMomsFaithUnbroken