This Monday we went on a field trip to the Houston Zoo. It was a beautiful day, and we had a great time (although the twins aren't at the point of being very interested in the actual animals yet).
At the very end, in a huge crowd of Houston schoolchildren waiting for buses, a paraprofessional spaced out, and Brendan disappeared. I had G., and I walked up to the group of aides, and asked, "Where's B.?" They hadn't noticed he wasn't there. Next came fifteen minutes of running around like a mad woman, asking the zoo officials to close the zoo gates, and saying to random people, "If you see an autistic-looking boy in a blue shirt, grab him". The teacher had stayed back at the school, so I had to take charge of the situation.
Despite all these years of private therapy, public education, etc., the twins have no sense of danger, and no sense of the need to stay with a group. They might respond to their names in a quiet setting, but definitely not outdoors in a crowd. Luckily, a para found him standing in the gift shop. We still don't know exactly how it happened--he was sitting in a wagon, and the para thought he was buckled in.
Today we are going on another field trip, to a boardwalk, which is right next to Galveston Bay. I almost stayed home with both of them, but I can't keep them home from everything. Letting my guys go off to school, on trips, etc. requires so much trust of people I don't really know very well. I don't know how to balance worry/caution with trust. It's written into both boys' IEP's that they will run off, and I'm trying to think of other precautions we could take (including getting B. a service dog). With J., their big brother, I don't have any of these concerns. I need to find a way of trusting in aides, teachers and fate more than I do right now.