Autism, Bolting, and Progress

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Article first published as Autism, Bolting, and Progress on Technorati.Recently, it was reported that the peak age at which children with Autism bolt is four years old. Some will outgrow the bolting stage, and some do not. We are lucky that our son has started to grow out of the bolting age. When we had our son tested at age 3, he would start running and wouldn't stop. He would take off regularly, so much so we couldn't trust him to walk without a hand in ours. and he would just run, never looking back. Sometimes he would stop and look back to see if we were following, but not as a result of us calling. It was frightening.There were times when we thought we would lose our son. Some times when he would leave the house and then wander the neighborhood, passing the busy street two or so times before we could find him. Other times when he would dash out toward the road when a car was coming. Because he is generally silent, we would immediately search through the house and the street. This is when I have felt the intense grip of panic.This continued until just recently, for three long years. But recently, he has started to head our calls. He will look back when we call to him, he will follow directions when given (like "go to the car"), and he will stop running when called. Another benefit from this change is his new focus on the task. I am thoroughly convinced this is the exult of is excellent teachers, as well as our constant focus on relating a task name with an action. He now focuses on what he is told, though he is still easily distracted (but then, he is only 6). Still it is a welcome change. So for all those parents out there that are going through something similar, know that it can get better. At least, it did for us.