Thursday, April 27, 2017


Working with children that have autism over the years, I have seen parents leave out sensitive issues like their child having the tendency to wander, or being prone to seizures when they bring the child to school. They may have sincere reasons, but then it may be putting the security of the child at risk.

In 2013, a parent brought her son to the school I worked at the time, and she told us he had wandered the previous Christmas. This information was very helpful because, not only were we more conscious of the general school security, we paid close attention to this boy, and realised that if we were not careful we could lose him somehow. He did attempt to wander, but because we knew he could, he did not succeed. Not just that, we notified people in the environment that we had children that had the tendency to try to run, making them realise that it didn’t depend on  whether we were nice to the children or not, but these kids just had the tendency. Somehow, in that community we had eyes everywhere, including our gates. When people saw our kids at the gate, they called out to us, without assuming that we probably sent the child on an errand.
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In another case, I have seen a child have seizures in school and the school was unaware that he was prone to that. When they called the mum, she was not surprised, she just “handled” it. Thank God the school knew what to do.

A parent cannot always be around the child at all times, but as a parent, you can put things in place to ensure your child’s safety. Many parents have testified that their child was saved from wandering because people in the neighbourhood recognized him/her, and were able to call their attention. What you have done by not hiding your child is to empower others to protect him/her.
Photo credit: Pintrest

Also, in a time when people are evil, it is important that other members of the community take child security as a communal task. Many children living with autism in Nigeria are non-verbal or have limitations with communication, so that means that they may not be able to call for help, but when you sense danger as a teacher, a neighbour, or as someone lucky to be around the corner, don’t just overlook, ask questions.
We have to work together to protect our children on the spectrum
Photo credit: Pintrest

I am not saying that you should live in fear, what I am saying is that you should put things in place for your child’s safety. Children with autism have a right to being protected, and we can all play our part as members of the community.

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