Recently I heard of a boy suffering from severe autism who had a fascination with fire and was burned on 60% of his body when he walked into a fire pit in his family’s backyard.
Some might question the competence of parents who allowed this to happen. Those of us who are familiar with this issue know otherwise.
I am reminded of the two incidences that resulted in our banning of candles from our house forever. The first time my daughter erupted in flame was at a friend’s birthday party. We were toasting with champagne and I realized that LL was mesmerized by a candle on the mantle-piece. Before I could take the one step behind me to reach her, the flames were on her bangs and there were small blisters on her forehead. Luckily we were able to put this out in a hurry and apply ice and she was not permanently disfigured. She did not learn from this and the next year, on her birthday, she did a face plant into her birthday cake, candles and all. Only the quick reaction of her uncle, sitting across the table from her, averted a catastrophe. The singed bangs grew back in and she is as lovely as ever.
I think we should have a public warning go out to all parents and care-givers to be especially aware of the risks of fire and the potential for severe injury. This may be as common as “wandering” and cause as many deaths and suffering families left behind.
I would be interested if anyone who happens to read this knows of any children or adults with autism who have been injured by fire.