As the children are getting bigger we are out growing our lovely home and are currently waiting to move.
This poses a number of issues.
We have spent years gradually accomodating autism in our home. Security for the unplanned breaks for freedom. Managing surfaces to combat the sensory seeking climbs the numerous laminated words, symbols, instructions and safety reminders strewn around the house. These have all been added slowly as issues have arisen over the last 10 years since we moved in.
When we originally arrived there were walls in different places, we’ve both added and removed external doors. The garden has been made secure and filled with swings, trampolines and yoga balls for Dylan’s sensory needs.
We have locks on the doors, both kitchen and utility to lock people out rather than in. The window in our bedroom is the only one upstairs without a restrictor on it so we have a lock on the outside of our bedroom door. Up high. So Dylan couldnt reach it.
We have restrictors in all windows to prevent Dylan falling out of them. He would spend hours climbing up and sitting on the window ledges and falling was a real risk. All upstairs windows are now bolted to only open with a 2 inch gap for ventilation.
Our kitchen was the only way to access the lounge. Dylan would frequently attempt to open the oven; keen to have his food which he could smell but wasn’t yet ready. It was too much of a risk not to do anything about it so we had to redesign it so that there was alternative safe access to the lounge.
We have double bolts in the access to front garden. Many visiting professionals struggle to work out how to get out once in.
We live on a quiet road but I know that if Dylan gets out alone he’ld head straight to the chip shop on the busy main road a two minute walk away. With no road sense the risks are huge.
Dylan wears an ID wrist strap with his details on and all our neighbours know who Dylan is and that he wouldn’t be out alone.
Our local police officer has a photo of Dylan and he is registered at the station as a vulnerable person so, should he be reported missing, the usual ‘lets sit and see’ time does not apply. Alerts and resources would be sent out immediately to hunt for him.
Where we live our neighbours go that one step further to always keep an eye out for Dylan to ensure he is okay and alway wave good morning to us, ensuring we always feel part of the community.
The prospect of starting all this over as new. Without the time to assess for the need for locks and bolts, contingency plans, building up rapport with neighbours so they don’t mind our constant noisy home. To have to replace all of that feels overwhelming.
A home is more than a house.
It’s a shame we’ve outgrown ours.