Our Family

Our Family
"These are the children God has graciously given to me. (us)" - Genesis 33:5

Thursday, October 25, 2007

9-1-1 Registration

Easter Seals was holding this event last night for anyone who has a child with special needs. It was geared more towards children who are on the autistic spectrum though, so we attended.

What this will accomplish is two things...first, it helps the emergency and medical community see the different faces of autism. As most people know, no two children are alike...and it's the same with autism. There are many different forms and levels of autism and last night we saw quite a few of them. The emergency response community are now being instructed to look on the refrigerators at homes when they respond to an emergency. We are instructed to post our child (ren)'s information in plain view for them to find. It helps them identify the possibility of additional care needed to help avoid escalating or scaring this particular child.

Secondly, the event was designed to help our children see, touch, hear and meet these people who, in an emergency, would be the people our kids would have to interact with. We're glad we went.

Ethan didn't like it at first. He had been talking about it all day...ALL DAY!! Every time he brought it up he'd flap his hands and arms and look up at the ceiling because he didn't know what to do with the excitement. For that very reason, I told him early on because I wanted to take the time to talk about it throughout the day and make him aware of the lights and sounds that accompany these people and vehicles. Yes, he's heard sirens before, but not so close. For those of you who don't know, Ethan is very sensitive to loud noises and bright lights...unless he is the one in control of them. When the fire truck first arrived, for example, it sounded it's horn and siren...and scared the beejeebee's out of Ethan. At that point he wasn't interested anymore and went right inside the building. We gave him about 10 min. or so to reach what is called baseline, by letting him color and play puzzles with some of the other kids, and then I brought him outside. (The first time was with Daddy)

With lots of encouragement and reassurance that they wouldn't do the siren again, we got him into the fire truck. He put the helmet on, and stared at all of the buttons and controls. You could tell it took a lot of will power not to reach out and press everything at once. (That and having me say over and over, "leave the buttons alone" seemed to work!)

Once he got down from the truck, the firefighter helped Ethan into a pair of boots and pants, and a coat. The coat was so heavy, Ethan crumbled (him and all of his 31 lbs!) under the weight of it! He didn't like the coat, but loved the boots and pants.
After that we went over to the police car. Ethan loved that it had a computer in it, and told Daddy that he needs one for the Jeep. The policeman even let Ethan talk over the speaker phone in the car...that kid never tires of hearing his own voice...amplified!

Soon after the ambulance arrived and Ethan was all warmed up and receptive to another brightly lit vehicle. He talked with the paramedic and was allowed up inside where the stretcher and all of the equipment is stored. He, of course had a million questions...and answers...not always on topic...but enough to occupy the paramedic for over 15 min. We finally told Ethan he needed to let the other kiddos who were getting up the courage to come over, get in the ambulance and check it out too.

So, we took them to the van to get them changed into their pajama's. Well, Ethan had a meltdown...he wasn't ready to go. He started screaming, and physically fighting off Mike who was trying to wrangle him out of his clothes and into his p.j.'s. Finally, we told Ethan that we would go back and visit after he put his p.j.'s on but then we would need to head home.

Well, since the ambulance had parked directly behind my van, I asked them if they would mind moving it so I could back the van up when it was time for us to leave. No problem, but, would it be alright if they took Ethan for a little ride in the front seat. Oh...my...goodness...I thought Ethan was going to explode...immediately he stared flapping his hands, turning his head and doing raspberries (another excitement stimulus), and happily took the paramedics hand to climb in the front seat. I bet you can guess what happened next...let's just say it got very noisy. Ethan was allowed to push any button he wanted: sirens, horns, lights etc...and he did, happily. He loved his 2 minutes of noise-making bliss, after which he was more than ready to go home...riding in the Jeep of course!

No comments: