Hand-holding is weird. I don’t mind holding kids’ hands, but you know kids—they can’t be bothered with it. My middle brother had an Elmo harness my mom frequently used because he was quite the fearless redhead (and still is). When he wasn’t running out into the street, he was jumping off the dining room table and hitting his head on the floor…or the table…and getting back up again. He was a kid with an imagination on a mission to fly.
I don’t know if he’s autistic, but that’s not the point of this—I am for putting kids on leashes if it means they will be kept safe, be them autistic or allistic, verbal or nonverbal.
The controversy regarding this topic baffles me, because the people who are against kid harnesses compare the kids in harnesses to animals—mostly dogs—which isn’t a great point of arguing if you consider non-abusive reasons dogs are typically put on leashes: to keep them safe.
And this topic as a whole is important to me, because not only do I wish for all my children to be adopted, but I pray God will help guide me to a life in which I can adopt children who need a little more help—children with special needs, if you will—because my step-grandparents were foster parents who often took these children in temporarily. Children with special needs are less likely to be adopted, and more likely to be abused and/or exploited.
And I, too, would use a kid leash/harness on my child if s/he often ran out/away from me in public, because it would be my job, as a parent, to keep him/her safe. I’m not going to tie the leash to a column or a pole and leave my child to entertain him/herself whilst I go outside to get the mail or into my bathroom to take a shower. Not only am I against dogs kept on leashes attached to poles, but I’m probz. “Most Likely to Be a Helicopter Parent”, thanks to my own neglected childhood and Lifetime’s movies about the many ways children can die/get into trouble/get hurt/etc.
Before I’m bombarded with “How would you feel if you were on a leash?” questions: As an adult autistic who dislikes hand-holding even for prayer, who has also had to navigate a crowd of people multiple times in an attempt to follow friends and family members, I often find myself wishing it was socially acceptable to not only use leashes for kids, but for adults as well. Really, I wish the world was more accommodating for and accepting of autistic people and it was the default, meaning all those stares I tend to receive in grocery stores when I’m in the international aisle and choosing my Pocky were not stares that said, “Something is obviously wrong with her,” but instead, “Oh, my gosh! A fellow autistic person?! #happystimming”
So, to the parents of autistic or allistic children who need to use leashes to keep their kids safe, who use leashes responsibly: you keep doing you.