We knew something was different about our son but we were in denial. It wasn't until the summer of 2007 when we contacted the County and started receiving help. His official autism diagnosis came in May of 2008 but back to the story.
It was a day to celebrate. The family was getting together to observe my in-law's 40 years of marriage...40 years! Unheard of nowadays. We had my brother in law's family coming from out of state and couldn't wait to see them. My son was always here and there so we were hyper vigilant with him. We were always stopping to see where he was at all times throughout the day and night. Our company came to the front door and everyone, but my son, came to greet them. We all moved into the living room, gave out hugs and kisses and then called for my son. He didn't answer, he usually didn't, but you could at least hear him banging toys or verbal stimming but we didn't. I checked the basement, hubby checked the upstairs. Not around. I checked the fenced in backyard, bathrooms.... nothing. My heart sank. With all the welcoming, we didn't close the front door. We left the front door unlocked!
|He hardly ever looked at the camera.|
My son was running, full blast down the alleyway, crossed 2 busy streets without getting hit by a car and just stopped when he saw a ball in someone's backyard. It was that bright, colorful ball that grabbed his attention. The boys tried talking to him but since he was non-verbal, didn't say anything. They weren't sure what to do so they picked him up and figured someone would be looking for him so they just started walking up the way he was running. Thank God. Thank God. There could've been so many things that could've gone wrong that day but someone was with him. A Guardian Angel, family that passed and was watching over him, I will never know but he was safe and back with us.
What some people don't understand is parents with autistic children are on hyper alert all the time. All. The. Time. We don't get a day off. We don't fully sleep. We let our guard down for seconds and that is all it took for him to slip out the front door and run.
We went to the anniversary picnic and that was a horrible experience in itself. We knew something was off with our son but we didn't know it was autism at the time. Here is a picture of our family when it was picture time. See how he is crying and holding his ears. We should've known but we didn't. I never knew anyone autistic at the time but I sure know many now.
|We didn't know at the time he was|
autistic. All the signs were there.