Autism and a Serious Injury

My son broke his foot two weeks ago.

What happened?

Well, sometimes a teenager with autism is just being a typical teenager.

Our son likes to ride a Razor scooter to help regulate his body. He brings it to his grandparents’ house and on vacations. Most of the time, he rides it on our street and on our driveway.

Our driveway is on a hill.

Our son likes to go to the top of our driveway and ride down, fast, and then turn left into our garage (halfway down the long driveway).

For several years now, we have been warning him to not go too fast. Most of the time, I felt he adhered to this strong advice. He had always been a rather cautious child.

However, we did see him several times going very fast. More so lately.

And, yes, without wearing a helmet. All of this time.

Bad parenting, I know. We should have insisted, no helmet, no Razor.

(Once he gets back on his feet, that rule will be non-negotiable.)

Well, my son went down our driveway too fast, tried to turn left into our garage, and the Razor scooter jerked and he fell on his left side.

He had a few tiny scrapes, and thankfully didn’t hit his head.

But, it turns out that he broke his left foot.

What’s happened since?

His mishap happened on a Sunday evening.

That night, we didn’t feel his injuries were severe enough to take him to the ER. His foot hurt and he couldn’t walk on it, but we felt it could wait until the next morning.

We got him an appointment the next morning, a Monday, with his regular doctor. He missed school.

The doctor thought that he foot wasn’t broken, but ordered an x-ray to be sure.

Later that afternoon, he got an x-ray of his foot.

We found out the next morning that it was broken. We wanted to send him to school on this morning, a Tuesday, but I had noticed that his toes were swollen, so I kept him home.

Two days of school missed.

How did we deal with him?

Lots of ice and Advil.

Lots of “normal” mommying, helping with food and getting around and getting him stuff, etc.

Until he got the crutches, we helped him get around. We made sure he showered, too.

By late Monday, I had walked over to the school to talk to them about what would need to happen with a student with a broken foot, and then I managed to borrow a pair of crutches.

On Tuesday, he saw a foot doctor who ordered a tall walking boot and gave instructions about using the crutches. We also got him a temporary handicapped plaque.

By Wednesday, he went back to school and things (sort of) got back to normal.

With the exception of a broken foot.

And, how did he deal with his injury?

He has had a challenging time.

He school has given him more time to get to class, an elevator key, and even assigned classmates to carry his bags. They’ve been great. His schoolwork seems to be unaffected, especially after he caught up with missed work. (One exception is he was excused from P.E. for the rest of the year. He was given a study hall, instead.)

I’ve been taking him to school and picking him up. I don’t think he minds getting a ride every day.

The worse part for my son is he’s upset that he can’t regulate his body the way he’s used to. Riding a Razor scooter is his primary way to release stress and tension, and regulate his body.

He hates that he can’t do that.

He also can’t swim, another activity that helps him regulate his body.

Additionally, he’ll have to miss his first two baseball practices in early March.

This process seems extremely slow, especially since he’s still in the middle of it, we’re in week three.

This is a hard lesson for him. He wants his body to be healed already, like yesterday. He wishes this had never happened. He’s had a hard time accepting that this even happened to him. And, he’s been angry with himself for letting it happen.

He has never been very good with patience, and this situation has been extremely difficult for him.

Six to eight very long weeks.

He’s been trying to find out details, exact details. When exactly, and what is the very earlier day, he can stop using the crutches? When exactly will his foot be healed and he’ll be back to normal? He moans and wallows about his injury every day.

What do we do? What can we do?

Help him, of course. I’ve been on extreme mummying duty for almost three weeks.

Agree with him, too, when he moans and wallows. This situation is hard for him. We get it. And, someday he’ll realize that this period of time was relatively short. But, for now, it seems like an eternity.

I made him a three week appointment with his podiatrist so that he can take an x-ray and my son can see that his foot is healing well. Hopefully, at this appointment (on Monday) the podiatrist will also tell him that he doesn’t need to use the crutches anymore.

Those two things should help. “Hey, my foot is getting better,” and “I don’t have to use the crutches anymore,” should help improve his mood.

Until the foot fully heals, we will continue to talk to him and help him. I also let him do things for himself, especially when he insists.

We will continue to support him the best we can.

And wait with him for the foot to be fully healed, and his life gets back to normal. An autism-related normal, but that’s the one we do best! Autism and a serious injury.


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