We started receiving services from an
organization called "Early Steps".
Unfortunately the coordinator assigned to our
case wasn't much use. We did get a therapist to
come to our home once a week. But later on we
learned that P.J. could have been attending
Discovery Learning Center, getting speech &
language therapy, occupational therapy, and
socialization in a school setting that dealt with
developmentally delayed children, 8:30am to
2:30pm, 5 days a week! As soon as we heard
about that, we signed him up. This is an
amazing school. The teachers and aides are
dedicated to the needs of each individual child.
From the time P.J. could crawl, he would climb
into and on top of EVERYTHING. And it never
stopped. Once he started walking and could
reach higher places, he climbed even higher.
We would find him under sinks, standing on
end tables, the coffee table, dining room table,
and eventually he was able to climb onto the
kitchen counters. He would also get into the
dishwasher and onto the stovetop. He was even
found IN the oven and IN the fireplace! Talk
about some scary stuff! Thank goodness I don't
cook very much!
A few times he pulled a stool up to the microwave, climbed
up, put a "C" cell battery in, pressed the numbers 1
through 9 (which ends up being 78 minutes 90 seconds!)
and pressed start! Some of the less scary stuff he did was
going into the bathroom and stuffing anything and
everything into the toilet; diapers, toilet paper rolls, panty
liners, tooth brushes, tooth paste... the list is endless. He
would also squirt liquid soap over and over onto the
counter. Needless to say I had a lot of cleaning up to do!
He got into the bedroom, turned the iron on and placed it
down on the carpet (nice burn mark there now). He was
also obsessed with turning the TV on and off, on and off.
Some of the stuff we just learned to live with. Obviously,
some of the stuff had to be addressed. Most of these issues
were resolved with baby gates. At one point in time, we had
9 gates in a 300 sq ft area just to keep P.J. safe (and less
mess for me to deal with!). We also moved the microwave.
As for the oven, for a while I had to move our table in front
of it, but eventually I found a baby lock that works very
well. We also had to bungie cord the stools under the
dining room table!
The absolute scariest thing that happened was on March 11, 2009. Adam
was getting ready to go to play drums, Kerri and Danny were playing or
watching TV. PJ was running around, happy as usual. I was in the kitchen
packing lunches. It was about 7:15. Adam went to the door and realized
that the gate to keep P.J. in the house was wide open. His first words were
"WHERE'S P.J.!!" We both flew out of the house screaming for P.J. We
looked in the usual hiding places, the neighbor's front door, her back yard,
and the other neighbor's back yard; NO P.J. We ran back into the house to
make sure he wasn't in there somewhere. Nowhere to be found. I called 911
and told them I had a three year old autistic child that had gotten out of my
house. She connected me with the sheriff's dept. As they were asking me
questions I saw P.J. run up to another neighbor's door. I started screaming
"P.J., P.J., P.J.!" The officer on the phone asked if he was OK, I said yes.
Then she asked me if I was OK. I was shaken and scared, but OK. I broke
down and bawled. I cannot believe this happened. Not only that it did
happen, but what COULD have happened. I had caught P.J. running
toward me five houses away from ours. That means he had gotten further
away! The rest of the night I was a zombie.
This is how we solved the fireplace
This is where the microwave USED to be.
It's now behind a gate. You can also see the
latch that we finally found for the oven.
To keep him from climbing onto the kitchen
counters, the stove top and dishwasher, we
put in a gate. The burgundy "box" is filled
with BRICKS to block him from the small
portion of counter that the gate didn't
Two of the nine gates.
Two more of the nine gates.
One of the only things we had foresight on was his climbing
out of bed. We bought this crib tent before he was able to
climb out! As of January, 2011, we are still using it!
The very next day, we took out the gate and
installed this large door. You had to pull on it
really hard to get it shut, but once it was shut
there was NO WAY P.J. could open it!
Our stools bungee corded under the table.