Dream Shard Blog: The Scintillating Adventures of Our Household

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Apr '12

Wesley’s Adventure

Anyone who knows me knows that I worry about Wesley’s whereabouts. If I can’t see him I can’t be sure he’s safe. Wandering is a common trait associated with Down syndrome (and autism and other cognitive conditions).

When he was a baby and I was first meeting other moms of kids with Down syndrome, I was blown away by all their stories of their kids wandering off and disappearing. Wes was so small that I couldn’t imagine it. I remember distinctly thinking, “Really? Really??

Yeah, really.

As he’s gotten older we’ve found we need to keep a firm hand on him in public so he doesn’t run off. If we’re in a group of people, such as at a party, it’s easy to lose track of him among so many kids but if I don’t keep a close eye on him he sometimes ends up outside, by himself.

This week he was playing in the backyard by himself. Our yard is fully fenced with a gate that’s always closed and locked. I didn’t worry about him out there. John and I were both just inside, seated at the big window where we could see him. We looked something up online which took our attention away from the window for a few minutes. When we looked back up, Wes was out of sight. I went outside to find him but he wasn’t anywhere in the yard. Since the gate was still shut and locked, it meant he had found a space between the ground and the bottom of the fence and slipped underneath. Which meant he was somewhere by the street, by himself.

We live on a corner, and the street that passes our house is fairly busy. I slipped on shoes and ran out front with John, wondering where Wes would go. There’s a park nearby, so we headed that way. Before we got too far John pointed across the street. There was one of our neighbors, carrying Wesley home. (Which meant that Wes had at some point crossed that busy street by himself.)

The neighbor had been driving by and saw Wes. To me, it seems like such a miracle that out of all the hundreds of people who could have driven past, it was HER. She happens to know our family well and knows my fear of him escaping. Lots of little kids not much older than Wes run up and down the sidewalk along this street by themselves all the time, going to friends’ houses, and just about anyone else who saw Wes out by himself probably would have taken no special notice. But my neighbor knew enough that when she saw Wes she stopped her car, got out, and scooped him up to bring him home.

We’ll always have to watch Wes, even when he’s grown up. Too bad about the backyard; he’ll probably play in it a bit less now.

1 Comment »

One Response to “Wesley’s Adventure”

  1. tara72 Says:

    oh geez, I didn’t realize he was on the other side of THAT street. man oh man. :( so sorry he scared you like that. kids shouldn’t be allowed to give their mom a heart attack. I’m sooooo glad your VT was driving by and saw him! angels, I’m tellin’ ya……Wes is especially watched over. :)

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