Even if I can not speak, I hear everything you say

When we were pregnant, I never dreamed I would be needing to think beyond the normal safety measures we already put in place for Cameron and Cody.

Did you know that drowning fatalities following wandering incidents remain a leading cause of death among those with Autism Spectrum Disorder?  Over the holidays, we were given an opportunity with the National Autism Association (NAA) to order what they refer to is the Big Red Safety Box.  Like any parents, we would jump on the opportunity especially since NAA was giving these to parents in the Autism community for free!  When Brad and I received our red box we soon came to realize how important is was to be sure we completed all the items that were included.

Think about it this way…Say you were in a car accident with Cody.  The accident caused you to not be conscious but Cody was.  The emergency crew would not understand why Cody could not talk or why he might be pushing them away or might even get severely upset when approached by strangers causing a meltdown.  Now, you may say this is typical with even neurotypical (normal) children and yes you are correct!  The difference however, is how you can change your behaviors or actions if you are aware that the child is autistic.  By knowing the child is autistic, you would change your approach on how you request the information you may need from them. The autistic child might be able to understand if you write the information down or if you were able to visually show them a photo or picture on your mobile device but simply might not be able to “say it.”  When the emergency crew knows the child is autistic then they can quickly change their way of asking to gather the information needed to help others or themselves.



Imagine if there is a fire at our home while we were all asleep. The smoke and flames cause us not to be able to escape the house but Cody was able to get to the emergency crew.  In this situation, today, Cody would not be able to tell the firemen that his brother or pets are trapped upstairs since he is non-verbal.  By having a decal on our windows saying, “Child with ASD – May not respond to verbal commands” allows the emergency crew to know and they can do a more thorough search of the home and identify a different way to communicate with him.


Lastly, autistic children are prone to wandering off or eloping from a safe environment, and may be unable to recognize danger and/or stay safe. Wandering, elopement, “running” or fleeing behaviors among those within our community not only present unique safety risks, but also create extraordinary worry and stress among caregivers and parents.  This is something we have not experienced but very well could one day.

Cody’s journey has opened my eyes to something new every single week and if I can share with each of you small chunks of awareness and education, we can all have a better understanding of Autism.  I wanted to wrap up sharing a poem that was written from a special needs teacher.  It pretty much sums up how some of Cody and other children’s behaviors can be different then you and I.

Here is what the teacher wrote.  “As I was finishing grad school I was taking a writing class and was asked to write a preface to an essay about a topic that was influencing and shaping the landscape of American society. As an ABA therapist at the time of this assignment, I immediately thought of the undiscriminating nature of autism and how it has penetrated all factions of American society. What I created was a short poem that embodied everything I thought was poignant, and at the same time subtle, about autism.”

I’ve had conversations without using words

But understood everything that was heard

Trapped inside but free to explore

The world around them and so much more

A blink of an eye, a glance, a nod

Signal to me what words cannot

A day, a month, an hour or week

It may take us to realize that Autism Speaks

Keep in mind regardless of any tools we may have in place, if our loved ones diagnosis interferes with their ability to recognize danger or stay safe, it is critical that we maintain close supervision and security in our homes and our duty to educate others. Autism Awareness Everyday


Published by mamalamaneustupa

Bio My name is Shelley Neustupa. I am a mother of two cool boys and a wife of 22 years to my high school sweetheart. My oldest son attends the University of Oklahoma. Boomer! My youngest is in 2nd grade and was diagnosed with Autism and Mixed Receptive Expressive Disorder at age 2. Since his diagnosis, I promised him I would advocate and educate as hard as he works each day in therapy. I began writing and have been able to touch many parents that may be new to this journey providing them with actual experiences (not candy coated), support and resources through my entries. Writing is my therapy and my hope one day that my nonverbal son will be able to take these diaries and speak about his own journey and how autism relates to his own experiences. Who knows he and his older brother may become National Speaker’s one day? Come along on our journey to better understand our lives through the eyes of a boy with autism, his Skilled Companion dog Jude, his big brother (and best friend) and mom and dad. My raw vulnerability captures the everyday moments of our journey and will bring even more awareness. A week does not go by where we do not learn something new about ourselves and I want to share these chapters with you. My Sons Undeniable Strengths… Extremely smart and figures out things quickly. Has a memory that allows him to remember more things than I could ever hope for. Persuasive by his personality and sheepish looks. Overabundance of stamina and strength. Loves the outdoors. Enjoys life and always has fun with an unforgettable smile. You can find us here: Writer: Autism Through His Eyes Facebook Instagram YouTube Pinterest Canine Companions for Independence News Interview Cody and Skilled Companion Jude - Our Story

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