June 15, 2016

A Little Progress Can Have A Huge Impact


As a wrote in my plea for an autism service dog for Brandon, taking him in public areas has the potential for danger.  Even walking out of my house required a death grip on his hand on the way to the car.  I couldn't trust him to take even ten steps to the car without bolting.  He would run to the back yard, the road, or anywhere else he wanted.  

I remember even as early as one year ago trying to get him to practice walking beside me when we were walking to the pool.  There was never anyone else or any other cars in sight, so it was the perfect place to try.

We had very little success.  He would run off each time.  I'm not just talking about running ahead of me to the pool gate.  I'm talking attempting to run into lots where there was construction going on, into the road, and around the parking lot.  

I am happy to say that after over a year of practicing this any time we could, Brandon will now exit the house, walk to the car, and wait in front of his door with zero assistance or prompting from me.  

Now, I still hold his hand in parking lots, or anywhere there is the potential for a moving vehicle.  But do you have any idea how much less stressful both mentally and physically it is that he can walk to the car on his own?  I no longer have to walk back in the house to get all our stuff after he is safely strapped down in his car seat.  I can carry everything out, put it in the car, and all the while he is standing there waiting for me to open the door and put him in his car seat.

So simple.

But so life changing.

Do I take my eyes off of him?  No.  Am I prepared to drop everything and run after him if necessary?  Yes.  He is only 4, after all.  But it is still a huge deal for both of us.

My hope is that this is also helping to foster more independence from him.  He can make good choices without me having to prompt him.  He is capable.  We just have to keep working so he can be his best self.


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