When a small person, aged 3 1/2, gets diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum, they usually end up in Special Education. In our middle sized community, during the late ’90’s, the Special Education class could be assigned to any of the dozen elementary schools in the area. Special Education classes were a lot smaller at that time, and parents were expected to transport their own kiddos to class. For many years, this was our family’s routine.
Dragging the youngest along, complicated matters. Now, I know, many families do this kind of thing everyday – shuffling their kids from school to activities, all day, every day.
However, Enter our family dynamic into this common situation. The oldest one is unpredictable due to his disability making the younger son just as much a mystery to us for all the typicalness of behavior for his age. In our family, confusion abounds.
On my days off I was the bus driver. I have to hand it to single parents, that has got to be the most difficult jobs in the world, being the sole parent in any and all situations. Pity me, three days a week, I drive my son to his preschool class, dragging his little brother along. Drag is not quite the word, a two year old isn’t easy on any level, and mine must have been the exaggeration to the rule resulting from our families situation, because our youngest son was WILD!
Gotta love the kid, he was again, a ray of sunshine! Gregarious at every turn, smiley and significant every day….our hearts would never be our own again between the two boys. With that being said, The youngest? He was a challenge for us. Especially, if it was a safety issue. Our youngest was the first to try, the first to run and because of that, sometimes, the first to fail.
During car rides, the youngest usually escaped, ejecting from his car seat at some point during the trip. Of course, this behavior would startle his mother, causing a great amount of glee for him, and the start of a long, winding road with a loose child in the van.
Imagine this scenario, repeating every day, for months. No! Please don’t. Enter kindly and just as cunning Officer Davis of the Liberty Lake Police Department. Savior of my youngest.
Sometimes, after picking up our oldest, we would go to the local convenience store and buy some treats. Hell, we made it through the day, we all could use a Twinkie, right? It was a particularly pretty day when we drove up to the mini-mart. Sliding open the van door, the boys were ready to go! The younger son already slithered out of his seat a mere six blocks from the school. Perfect.
Entering the store, we eventually made it over to the snack aisle. While the boys were snagging their choices, I noticed the local police officer, armed, strolling in our direction. (Go for it, I think)…. “Hello, Officer Davis (noting his name badge), are you the person who called me about my youngest son not staying in his car seat while we are driving?”
“Why yes, yes, I am!” – didn’t even miss a beat….”I called your Mother, young man”, “because I heard you weren’t staying in your car seat for your Mom. And the law states, “You have to stay in the seat, buckled in, safe, while you are riding in your family’s van, Son.” “Is that clear?”.
Driving home that day, the youngest looked like he’d seen a ghost. With the law clarified, reformed was he…..and from that moment forward, he was an absolute law abiding citizen. I can’t thank Officer Davis enough.
Sometimes we have to confound our children so they behave. Other times, we have to bring in the big guns to scare them into submission. Thank you Officer Davis – sincerely, We can’t thank you enough……..