We have a son with autism. He's verbal, funny, gentle, and easy to have around the house. Because our son is neither aggressive nor self-abusive, is able to express himself, and is no danger to himself or others, we are in a privileged situation. The idea of living with Tom forever is not scary; in some ways it's actually reassuring.
I am very well aware that our lives are not typical of many families living with autism, who are very rightly afraid for their own safety and/or their child's. Many of you have experienced true physical emergencies when you feared for your safety or even your life. And many of you are looking toward the future with extreme anxiety as you wonder not only "what will he do when we are gone," but "how will we cope with him when we are no longer bigger and stronger than he is?"
While I have met families living with this situation and written about their stories, I have found it very difficult to find general information for families coping with an immediate crisis or long term physically dangerous situation. Some families are able to find services and supports, but so far I have not found generally actionable information to share. In some places, your choices seem to be limited to the police or a psychiatric ward, neither of which sound like good options for more than a few hours or days.
Have you ever been in an emergency situation with a teen or adult with severe autism -- afraid for your own and/or your child's safety? If so, what did you do, and what you recommend that others do to manage such a situation? Once the crisis was past, did you find services or supports to avert a re-occurence? Please share your thoughts and resources.