Saturday, March 10, 2007
One of the first drills we run in my clinic after we have children compliant is the come here drill, so that children with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders will come when they are called. Obvious safety issues are involved with this drill and most kids do learn to come when called. But every year I have a child or two with autism or some other neurodevelopmental disorder get lost. Some get out of the house at night while their parents are asleep. Others bolt when a parent is carrying on groceries and thinks their child is right behind them. That's what happened most recently. Mom was carrying in groceries from the car and thought her four year old was right behind her. But when she sat the groceries down and turned around she was not there. Mom ran out of the house and noticed a few small footprints leading to a 100-corn field. She called and called but the child was non-verbal. Night was falling and mom frantically called family and numbers to search the cornfield. Two hours later she was found sitting on the ground paying shucking corn. Fortunately, it was a warm night and this story had a happy ending. The parents purchased a GPS tracking bracelet the next day. According to a recent Schafer Report (http://tinyurl.com/2bczkp) parents can now purchase sneakers with a GPS chip. A monthly subscription costing $19.95 is also required. A small price to pay considering that sometimes there is not always a happy ending for children with autism or some other neurodevelopmental who get lost.