Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Great Escape

We have finally experienced something that many parents of autistic kids deal with on an almost daily basis...a child getting out of the house. Grace decided that her little universe was not big enough and decided to venture outside.

To give you the lay of the land, we have a bi-level (I think). You know, front door landing and stairs going up and stairs going down. We have a gate at the top of the stairs that's been through the wars. It's missing the last bar and a few months ago, it lost the 'push button' that made it impossible for anyone without a Phd to open it. Now it's easy to open but Grace and Liv had not made any pretenses to open it, until a few weeks ago, when Grace began opening the gate and going downstairs.

Well a couple of times open the gate and us saying "stop that" is one was different. Aly and Lin were in the other room, Aly came out to talk with the boys, called them but they did not answer. She went down the stairs, not noticing the open gate and passed and shut the front door.

"Mom, they're not here."
"What do you mean they're not here? Wait, they're outside, I can see them through the glass."
Aly opened the door to find it was indeed Grace, playing on the front lawn in the rain.

"GRACE IS OUTSIDE!!" started the panic. Aly went down the stairs wavering "GRRAAACE!" in her bare feet. With that, Grace decided to bolt into the cul-de-sac (I am SOOO glad we chose a cul-de-sac house!). She got 3/4 of the way across the street before Aly caught up. THUNKA THUNKA harm, no injuries, no foul. Just an adrenaline rush on both chasers and a couple years of of Linda's life.

I get the much more mundane call at work. It's always good to hear, "Guess what? Now, she's perfectly alright... but guess what Gracie did?" Kinda like watching the horror movie for the second time. It's still scary, but the 'jump outs' just don't have the same effect.

So, we are weighing our options: basic chain lock, simple audio alarm, high deadbolt or more extreme measures like alarm companies and wrist bands. So, if you are one of those with 'runners' in your autistic household, I understand the digitalis and white hair now; please be kind to us as we join this most undesirable club...

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