Recently we had a tragic event happen here in Kansas City. A five-year old boy that was autistic, ran out past the fence and headed toward the neighbor's pond. Sadly, the authorities found that the boy had drowned in five feet of water. What I'm going to address is how we have a tendency to put an idea in our head and go with it until we accomplish our goal. Here was the news story:
KANSAS CITY, MO. —The drowning of a 5-year-old Cass County boy with autism on Tuesday is raising awareness about the special attraction that bodies of water have for children on the autism spectrum.
Statistics show that nearly half of all children with autism wander. For a child with autism, that type of wandering means the child is on a mission and knows exactly where he or she is going.
Children with autism are often drawn to pools and other bodies of water. Experts said they find them beautiful and are fascinated by the way light sparkles on the water.
Experts said that attraction is why 91 percent of deaths of children with autism are due to drowning.
Parents and caretakers recommend parents take measures to protect children inside and outside the house, including looking up the locations of bodies of water in the area and letting neighbors know about things they can do, including erecting fences or putting locks on gates.
Jennifer Smith, the executive director of the Autism Society of the Heartland, said parents shouldn't do away with access to water, but keep it within safe boundaries.
"Water is a fixation for them because when they get in the water, it's like a big hug and it wraps around them. And it can relax them and help with some of those sensory issues that they might have," she said.
Another way to protect children with autism is lessons that teach them how to swim and survive in the water.
The YMCA offers special courses for children with autism and other special needs.
[Read more: http://www.kmbc.com/news/water-holds-special-allure-danger-for-children-with-autism/26866458#ixzz371i5MGoX]
I agree that water is a big attracter for many children with autism, but it's not the only thing or the only thought. I remember when I was younger, I would tend to get something in my head and I was determined to accomplish it. I recall on several occasions when I would make trips to 7-11 or the library on my bike. Mind you that I was doing this when I was no more than 8, 9 or 10 years old. I would have my mind made up that I was going to find a way to make the journey whether my mom and dad wanted me too or not. I do recall some times when I got into trouble when I did this. When my brother was old enough, we would go together and that really made my parents mad. You have to understand that it didn't matter to me if I was doing the right thing or not. I didn't think about the responsibilities or the repercussions of my actions. If it was in my head...it was going to happen one way or the other.
This is an incredible heart break and tragedy for this family. Would it have made a difference if the 5-year old boy knew how to swim? That's a hard question to answer, but in the article the experts seemed to think it could have saved his life. All I know is that I'm sure that 5-year old boy had been thinking about that water for a while, but may not have mentioned it to anyone; like I said, when I made my trips I dared not to tell my parents what my plan was. I will say that my parents did give me swimming lessons early in my life for the main reason that my parents would always go to the lake and they made sure I and my brother knew how to swim.
For those of you who have Asperger's or are parents of children with autism, all I can tell you is you need to be on your guard. You may have no idea what thought has popped in their head so in some ways you almost have to be a mind reader. Trust me, I have two daughters with Asperger's and their mom and I really had to think ahead before they did! Jaimee and I made sure all our daughters knew how to swim at an early age just because we would always go the pool. [Jaimee hated lakes!] Ideas don't always pop in our heads and there are times when we get an idea, but we quickly forget it as fast as we had thought of it in the first place. Just always be aware where your children are so you don't have to run into these issues as a parent. You definitely have to be proactive.
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Song: "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Look For"
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This was Tony Eugene “Gene” Cory-Ferguson, the precious 5 year old who drowned so tragically in a neighbors pond. I humbly ask for your prayers for the family dealing with his loss. Here is a music video from the band Third Day. The song is "Cry Out To Jesus". This goes out to anyone that has gone through heartache like the Cory-Ferguson family.