When my son was 11 yo (he has HFA) his psychologist suggested that we allow him a bit of freedom. It is important in the typical development, so we started letting him walk around our block, and worked our way up. He's now 12, and we let him walk four or five blocks to the shopping center. He likes to go to the Dollar store and get a snack and drink. He talks to the guys at Blockbuster about new movies and games they have coming up.
It wasn't just letting him go, we really talked a lot, about what to expect, what to do if x, y, or z happened. once he was able to walk the block without getting lost or stressed out, then we expanded. He has my cell phone and he calls me when he gets to the store to let me know where he is and tell me everything is okay.
It has been hard, and a little scary for ME, but it's really beneficial that he has the ability to develop his independence. He has gotten lost a few times, he has problems with that though, and he did learn from that as well. Really, having a child with autism, we're wanting that, and definitely wanting them to have pasttimes like other people, and walking is a healthy one anyway.
Keep going...I think it's GREAT!
It's nice to give him his freedom, but I don't think letting him walk like that is a good idea. Especailly since he is still so young...
HUUUUM. I would say that if he knows that he is never to enter any ones car or house, that you have a family password that he knows so if you do send someone to pick him up he knows they are legit, and if you have checked the web site for perverts who exploit children and know that none of them live near you or on his route, then I would say OK ...sort of. The child needs some independence and freedom and we always try to encourage them in this area. Being even high functioning autistic has it's limitations as many of these kids do not understand inference in someones voice, and therefore may make an incorrect choice as to what makes up trustworthy people. I might try to find a HS or MS kid to walk with him explaining that the "helper" should just walk along or walk behind your son. In this day and age you cannot be too careful --- Just be very careful -- the world can be a scary place. Good luck
I like the idea that he is able to move around the community independently. As long as he is aware of the rules and that you have built in safe guards. Having him call every 10 minutes is a good start. Do you know the route or places he is going? If you don't, I would say that it is important to know that. For example, say he falls and he doesn't call, how do you find him?
Going a mile is far (my whole town is a mile square). Even though it is a small town, I wouldn't allow my children to go more than a few blocks from my home, not because of them but because of the people in society that cannot be trusted.
If you are concerned there are new tools out on the market. They are GPS clothing and shoes. You can also get cell phones that have GPS location. This will let you know where he is not what he is doing.
I have an 8 year old autistic son and a 10 year old typical daughter. Personally, I don't let my 10 year old typical child walk alone and we also live in a very small town. However, if he is HF and understands and adheres to limits and understands danger, then maybe, just maybe it's okay. I like the cell phone idea and I think I would walk with him and show him exactly where he can walk and provide a visual map for him. Also, I think I would allow him to walk to a "location", i.e. friends house, park, school, corner of x and y street, something like that.
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