Dear Free-Range Kids: Nothing bad happened when I let my then 6 year old high functioning autistic son walk around the block by himself (or, as he calls it, The Island). He came home super excited and proud and made an art book depicting the different experiences he ran into (seeing a yapping chihuahua in a car, a man mowing his lawn, a big stick in the gutter, etc) and then shared it with me.
Also, nothing bad happened when I taught him, at 8, to make his own oatmeal in the microwave. He’d been making his own breakfast for several years (yogurt, granola and strawberries and bananas cut up with a butter knife) and, the morning after I explained the steps to him, I left him a note with the basic steps outlined as a reminder. He did a perfect job and I woke up to a note slid under my door of a blissful face saying, “MmmmMmMMM!!”
Also at 8, nothing bad happened to him when I needed to pick something up at a store that I’d ordered online to ship to the store and couldn’t find any parking. After ten minutes, I drove over to the side of the store, gave him the email saying it was ready for pick-up and told him to go to the cashier and tell them he was picking up the package for his mom. He was in and out and was very proud that he was able to help! – Equally Proud Mom
Trust me: It’s amazing how fun an independent walk can be.