Tuesday, May 17, 2005

in Memory of Dominic

Dominic Overton was a beautiful 4 year old boy who died Tuesday, May 17. He wandered off from his grandmother's home. They found him 3 hours later, and flew him to the hospital where he later died. He had autism. This was here in North Texas. Last year there was a 9 year old boy in Pennsylvania who wandered off in the night. It was winter. He died of exposure.

I am so upset by this, and I didn't even know these boys. But I saw their pictures and their big brown eyes and it just hit a little too close to home. My son has run off from home 3 times. He has no fear. He can unlock locks. I live with the fear that he will wake in the night and wander off. We live a block away from a big street.

My son takes the bus to and from school. The driver stops right in front of my house. Several times I have seen people drive around the bus as I am walking toward it to get my son. Today I saw someone doing it and I actually walked in front of the bus and screamed at the woman that she has to stop. (I never know if he will run off from me into the street.) She just kept driving. Nice.

Its very hard to have a child with a disability that doesn't look like a disability. I've gotten the dirty looks when Tiger's been too loud in a store. I've had one lady talk about my mothering skills , in Spanish, to the cashier as we were in line.(Hello! Just cos I am white doesn't mean I don't understand Spanish!) I was even asked to leave a store once because he was loud. On the way out of a doctor's appointment an old man told me that allowing my child to behave that way was very rude. I unfortunately don't have the time to educate these people about Autism. I can't predict when Tiger will be good or when he will be upset, loud and trying to run off from me.
But I take him in public as much as I can. He has to learn how to behave in public. I can only do that in public.

I find myself praying harder than ever that he learns to talk. That he stops trying to run away. That I can keep him safe from himself, and stupid drivers. That I never have to be in the cold dark place that Dominic's mother is in tonight.