My DS is five and was diagnosed with autism in May. He has no verbal communication and it is difficult to gauge what he does and doesn't understand. He has always held my hand when we are out and about, but in the last month or so, has become keener to walk independently beside me.
I'm frightened because on three occasions in the last week or so, he has been spooked (twice by dogs and once nearing a shop he doesn't like) and has bolted in the opposite direction, not stopping at the kerb when he approached a road. Thankfully I managed to catch him in time, and have tried to insist he holds my hand, but he's fairly strong and can slip my grasp quite easily.
I need suggestions on how to I still some road safety awareness. I'm also wondering if I should reintroduce his reins (he wore them until about three). I don't like this idea, (I used to feel as though I had him on a lead) and I know he won't either, but these incidents have shaken me up. I desperately want to encourage a little independence but I'm struggling to think of ways to prevent this happening again.
Hmm. I've recently bought Boomereins for my younger ones. Instead of holding them, it's a belt that goes round your waist and one that goes round his, connected by a retractable cord. If you end up reintroducing reins, perhaps that might make him feel a bit more free than the traditional sort? Must add I haven't yet tried them properly! If he has no verbal communication, do you use symbols with him? If so (or even if not), you could perhaps try a Social Story. There might even be one online that you could use or customise.