Yesterday was the WORST DAY OF MY LIFE!
When we got home Thursday night (around midnight) the carpet in the living room was wet. Really wet. Apparently the kitchen sink was leaking while we were out of town for 3 days. It leaked through the kitchen cabinet & kitchen wall & soaked into the living room carpet. Nick fixed the leak but it was late so we left the cleanup til the next morning. So Friday morning, we used the steam cleaner to vacuum up as much water as possible & then we turned on the dehumidifier & a box fan. Needless to say, it was noisy in our house.
Around 11am, I went to go take a bath. About 5 minutes later, Nick runs in the bathroom & asks if Addy was in there with me. She wasn't. He said "She's missing & the front door is open." (He had been sitting on the couch watching TV, but since it was so noisy in the house, he didn't hear her open the door even though he was only like 10 feet away.) So I jumped out of the bath, threw on my robe & ran outside to look for her. Nick was already running down the sidewalk one way, so I went the other. I ran home, jumped in my car, made the block, looked at the school playground & didn't find her. Nick jumped in his car & did the same. Up & down the streets around our house, yelling her name, crying, afraid that I would never see her again. I came home to check the house again, to throw on some clothes & get my phone so that I could call 911. Just as the 911 operator answered, Nick pulls up with Addy. It was the longest & scariest 10 minutes of my life.
She had ran down one of the streets that dead ends into Grand Mesa & then ran into someone's open door, up their stairs & into their playroom. Nick drove down that street & the parents were in the driveway talking. He told them what was going on & they said they would help us look for her. They went inside to tell their kids that they were leaving & Addy was in their playroom talking to their teenage daughter. The parents didn't even know she was there.
We keep our front door locked, but Addy was able to unlock & open it. The deadbolt is keyed only on the outside. On the inside is a latch, all she had to do was turn it. And we have a child lock handle on the knob, but she was still able to turn it. So we pushed the loveseat in front of the door while we got dressed & then we went straight to Lowes and bought a new deadbolt.
I know that lots of children with autism wander. They even have a term for it, elopement. But this is something new for Addy. She sometimes runs off a little bit because she wants someone to chase her, but she's laughing the whole time & I'm right there behind her. And she has run out the front door to look for Bailey, but she always stays in our yard or the neighbor's. But at the beach in Florida, that was our first experience of her really bolting & it was scary then. But yesterday's situation was much much worse.
There's no way that she would have been able to tell that family where she lived, maybe her name, but that's all. And she had no problem walking right into someone else's house. (Luckily this family has a son with CP that goes to Addy's school & the mom works at my dentist. So they are aware of Addy & could possibly have figured out who she is & gotten her home.)
So what do we do now? How do we prevent Addy from eloping? The new deadbolt should be a big deterrent. And a couple of months ago I ordered a shoe ID tag for Addy in case a situation like this came up. But she wasn't wearing shoes yesterday. She was barefoot & still in her nightgown. So now I'm going to order her an ID bracelet & hope that we can make her wear it at all times.
And I'm reading up online for other ideas. So if you have an idea, please please please let me know.