Risk Analysis

6 Feb

Monday, while waiting to begin The Princess’s classroom performance, one of the children had a health incident. This particular child’s parents were not present and it necessitated visits to the classroom by the school nurse and multiple attempts to reach them.

This child happens to have other health concerns in addition to autism and I have witnessed incidents that happened in the past including one where the child’s mother was present. Others happened when the mother was not in attendance, for example on field trips.

Having a child with medical complications put us autism parents in a bit of a bind. We want our children to experience as much of life as possible including field trips and autism festivals and fairs, but if we find ourselves with a child who suddenly needs medical attention, will it be as readily available as it would in a more controlled environment. The Princess’s class, for example, takes field trips for special Olympics, including one this week to a pool for swimming lessons. Does the risk of a child having a health related issue at a place like a pool mean the parents should automatically defer? Or risk something happening. In a situation where other children will also be present in the uncontrolled environment. There are no easy answers.

Monday, one of the teacher assistants was leaving the classroom as we approached with Princess and the other student who had the health incident. The incident occurred in the hallway on the way back to the classroom. Another parent was present on her way to the class and after offering what help she could, got the school nurse and then went to the classroom to alert the teacher who immediately raced to the scene. The Princess wanted to go  back into the classroom with me, so I obliged when I had met them in the hallway. I am glad that I did not only for The Princess and the other child but for the assistant as well who would have been stuck in the hallway with both children if I had not taken The Princess. There were no indicators present when the incident occurred that would have indicated to the teacher or the assistants that maybe this child should have/could have stayed in the room and another student be sent. This was a routine thing that happens often throughout the day.

I am grateful The Princess does not have digestive issues, seizures or anything else health associated accompanying her autism. And I cannot imagine the dilemma faced by parents in those situations. Because unavoidable things like what occurred Monday could easily happen and it’s no one’s fault. And there is no prescribed formula for risk analysis in these situations. I know, or think I know, what I might do in some of these situations, but it’s not me and not my child. So here’s a huge virtual hug to all those out there in the autism world with kids who have health issues that put their parents in these type of situations where having the experience and risking an incident feel like a no-win.


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