“Why is he in a buggy? He is big enough to walk”
To the lady who asked me this today, I completely agree he is big enough to walk. He is well able to walk. But he prefers to run, and boy is he fast. You see my little boy has Autism. He is a runner and he is in a buggy for his own safety.
Firstly, let me tell you a bit about his Autism, because as you can see it is a hidden disability. My little guy looks just like all other children, and I know I am biased but he is quite handsome. However he is different. But I want you to know different isn’t always bad. He is simply wired differently. He can understand what you say to him, but he cannot answer you, because Autism has robbed him of his little voice, for now. He may react to bright lights, loud noises, crowds or textures. This is because his senses are a lot more sensitive than ours. You may hear him humming or see him flapping his hands. This is him stimming (how he regulates himself). His Autism may make him different but he is AMAZING.
So let’s get back to your question, the buggy. I get why you ask. It is quite strange to see a boy of his age in a buggy. But you see he is in there for his safety. My little boy sees no danger in anything. Once he is free he will run. He will run out onto a road, in front of a car. He will run into the middle of a crowd. He will run anywhere. He can be a danger to himself and others. Holding his hand is not an option, I have never seen someone so good a wriggling out of my grip. And just like that he is GONE. Queue the panic.
He will run into shops, grabbing what he likes on the way. He will run behind counters. Sit down with random people. He will raid their shopping bags. And when he becomes over stimulated you will see his hands go to his ears, he will lie on the floor and he will cry. Because you see it all gets too much for him. Lights are a major trigger for him, and boy are they everywhere. He is so fast, I mean super fast. My biggest fear is that he will get lost. He cannot answer if I call his name. He cannot tell anyone who he is. How would I find him?
A buggy means all of this is avoided. My little boy is able to enjoy his trip to the shops (even though it may be like flash lightening) I know the shops where the lights don’t agree with him, we avoid them. I can avoid him having to get into the crowds. We can avoid the sensory overload. And most of all, when he is in his buggy he is safe. He is not in danger. He can not run off. He can not get lost.
We have to go through the motions of everyday life, just like everyone else. We still have to go and get his foot measured for new shoes. We still have to get food in the shops. We still enjoy having a walk around the city centre on our days off. And a buggy means we can do these things, it means my little boy can experience every day things.
I know his buggy may stand out, it is bigger and taller because it is a special buggy. A buggy for children just like my little boy. Children who need to be kept safe in there for a little longer. I see the looks when I push him around. I hear the comments people pass as they walk past us. I think I have gotten to the stage where I ignore them. I wish he could walk with me and hold my hand, but once he is safe and happy that is all that matters to me.
So thank you for actually asking me. Thank you for asking me why.
You are right, he is big enough to walk, but I hope you understand why, for now, he needs his buggy. Why I need his buggy. Hopefully one day you will see us walking around holding hands, with no wheels. You see we now have a service puppy in training. Her name is Willow. Willow will be trained to keep Riley safe. The aim is for them to be attached to each other while we are out and about, allowing Riley to walk independently. (And allowing us to ditch the buggy). Willow will give my little guy his independence back. She will help him beyond belief. Hopefully we will be able to stop and have another chat with you, this time you can ask all about his service dog.
But for now, I hope you understand, the buggy must stay.
All our love
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