Monday, June 24, 2013

My FIRST guest blogger!!! Melody Rain her post " wandering How I do it and what it might look like"

    Alright i very very excited to announce we have an awesome (and my FIRST) guest blogger Melody Rain!  Melody is also an adult on the autism spectrum and an advocate for autism awareness. She is a great advocate  with a lot of information and insight on autism Bellow is a piece written by Melody rain and what autism is like for her and what you can do to help!

. Melody I want to thank you for allowing me to share this amazing piece of writing with everyone and for your work in spreading awareness and understanding as an adult with Autism!! thank you Melody!

" "Wandering....How I do it/ What it May Look Like, Why and What You Can Do(in hopes to help parents of children with autism who like to wander)"
Written by Melody Rain copyright 2013.

Everyone has seen people walking. Usually when you see a person or a child walking they look pretty determined and focused on where they are going. Most people when they see someone outside walking they do not think anything of it...especially if it is an older child or an adult. Therefore, wandering can be overlooked and people may not recognize that the child or adult may be in danger. 
So how does wandering differ in appearance from someone who is walking to a purposed destination? A person who is walking to a purpose destination may like I said appear determined. They may be walking at a normal pace or even briskly. They may be looking ahead or looking around consistently. They will stop at the end of sidewalks and look both ways before crossing. They may smile or nod as they pass by you and appear like they are completely aware of their surroundings. What might it look like if a person with autism is WANDERING? 
Here are some differences. A person with autism while wandering may have their head down watching their own footsteps or may be focused on an object in their hands. They may look or have a fixated stare either at an object or just wherever they are looking. They may not seem to be aware of their surroundings...but rather in their own world. They may be humming repetively, doing other repetitive movements, or walking in a slow repetitive like motion. Usually their pace will be slower than typical walkers. They may stop in the middle of their pace and just stand....they may even stop in the middle of the road. They may seem completely unaware of any dangers. They may stop to look at things or objects that catch their eye....they may be touching this object. They may be walking towards a water source or around a water source. They may be walking in very hot weather (when typical people may not want to walk), in the rain, in very cold weather, in snow or at night...especially very late. If you speak to them they may not respond or look at you. They may appear deaf. 
There seems to be a need or a desire to wander in many who have autism. Often times I just feel inspired to wander. Sometimes it happens when something dramatic or difficult happened that day. It sometimes feels like an escape from everything around me. It feels good to wander. I have been a wanderer since a young child...though I have not found myself in dangerous situations as a CHILD when wandering mostly because I was found. As an adult I have been in a few dangerous situations such as people who have tried to kidnap me or take me when I have wandered late at night. I do not always completely "check out" when I wander but I seem to be somewhere in the middle of both worlds. Many people who wander may be completely oblivious to all surroundings.
So as a parent you have probably tried to take precautions in order to protect your wandering child or adult child. Locking the doors /windows with alarms to alert you...notifying neighbors to keep watch out for your child, police etc. But here is something else you can do. This may not prevent or discourage all wandering but it may help. Take time with your child or adult child to allow him or her the ability to wander. You think what do you mean??? Well often you might go on a walk to relieve stress or recoop your mind from a hectic day. Your child may need this too in their own way. If your child is a runner or darts out impulsively you certainly want to make sure you do this in a very safe environment. Take your child to a park, big field where there are lots of trees nearby or on a walk somewhere there is not any traffic and allow THEM to lead the walk with you close enough to grab them or be near them incase of any dangers. During this wandering walk allow it to be as much time as they need and DO NOT use this time for conversating, talking or causing any un-necessary distractions. This is their time to unwind, relax and just feel free. 
Written by Melody Rain (adult autistic/advocate and an occasional wanderer) Written to help parents understand a little bit more about the autistic mind."  - by Melody Rain  


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