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Karen Wang
BY Karen Wang

The Top Ten Hiding Places for my Child with Special Needs

Do you get nervous whenever your home suddenly becomes very, very quiet?

CookingAt my house, silence usually means that someone is up to something:

Something messy.

Something dangerous.

Something forbidden.

I can’t count on my son responding to his name or owning up to his whereabouts.  So I’ve learned to check all the usual hiding places for the usual suspects.  The habit has become so ingrained that it doesn’t even seem odd anymore.  So next time you’re looking for someone or something, try looking in these 10 hiding places.

10. Under the sofa

This is the standard repository for overdue library books and confused pet guinea pigs.

9. Follow the scent

Inside the bathroom cupboard, under the sink, behind the cleaners and pipes, you may find a whole person or a stash of soiled diapers.

8. Under the basement stairs

There amid open toy boxes and top-secret birthday surprises, you will find a happy but silent child.

7. Listen for running water

If you only find a sink full of water surrounded by an assortment of sponges, washcloths, soaps and your loved one soaked head to toe, then you’re lucky.

Orange Slime6. Check the art supplies

One fine morning at 7am, I wandered downstairs, where my children jubilantly declared, “Look, Mommy!  We made orange slime!”  The slime was easier to clean up than the other times when they got into the paint.

5. Check the refrigerator

It only takes one unattended minute to slather stickers + chocolate milk + broken eggs + ice cubes everywhere.

4. Invisible outdoors

The scariest type of searching is outdoors.  My son outgrew the escape instinct before he turned 4, but until then he was an expert locksmith and would always run straight to the street!  Creeks and ponds are also irresistible and extremely dangerous destinations for escape artists.  But the most likely hiding place outdoors is the space between the hedges and the house, where sounds and inclement weather are cushioned, where delightfully slimy and interesting creatures live, where scientific discoveries can be made any day of the year.

3. Look up

If you have a climber, remove all lattices, trellises, fencing and decorative ironwork from the side of your home…because they can and will be used to climb up to the roof.  I know because my kids inherited the climbing instinct from me, and the roof was my favorite hiding place as a kid.  Also check all the trees on your block – no one ever checks trees anymore!

behind furniture

2. Lots and lots of blankets

We all know the therapeutic value of a weighted blanket.  A stack of 4 or 5 folded blankets also has a therapeutic effect, so look at the bottom of the linen closet, under the laundry pile and in between mattresses.  That space between the mattress and the wall is like a homemade squeeze machine!

1. Right behind you 

The most popular hiding place is in plain sight.  And yes, that is my child chewing on live electrical wires behind the furniture!

Where will you find the usual suspects this week?

Karen Wang

Written on October 29, 2013 by:

Karen Wang is a Friendship Circle parent. You may have seen her sneaking into the volunteer lounge for ice cream or being pushed into the cheese pit by laughing children. She is a contributing author to the anthology "My Baby Rides the Short Bus: The Unabashedly Human Experience of Raising Kids With Disabilities"