Saturday, July 19, 2008

Supervising Autistic Children vs. Typical Children

I was at our local pond recently with my son, Nick, and noticed that a small group of boys were, apparently, swimming by themselves--that stating--NO parental supervision. What caught my eye, and the eyes of other parents--I am certain, was that they were swimming WAY too far out--like to the middle of the pond. I live in a development which has a private beach/pond for its residents--and NO lifeguard.

I was thinking how incredible that was. Not only would I not allow my 14 year old to swim without a caring adult watching out, but I barely allow him to swim out over his head--and he can swim. And these boys, who were no older than 14, were swimming on their own and without a supervising adult. Sitting there on the sand with my book and drink, I worried for these boys. Granted, some were safely floating on boogie boards, but a couple others were floating on nothing more than luck and ingenuity.

Statistics show, here, that drowning remains the second leading cause of injury-related death among children ages 1 to 14; and that 88% of those drownings were those under some form of supervision.

Do some parent just think that other parents are watching out for their children? And as I was sitting there on the beach watching them I was thinking: "Could I swim out to rescue one of them by myself if I had to?" Probably not! I'm not that strong of a swimmer, and to haul a 13 year old back to safety? Good Luck! Hmm?

And as I was driving home I noticed other kids riding their bikes (in the middle of the road by the way—even though we have adequate sidewalks) but they looked about 6. Now let me tell you, as a mom of autistic kids, I could and would never allow my kids to swim on their own nor ride bikes on their own, especially at the age of 6.

Is this the difference between having children with special needs or am I totally out of the loop?

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