Billy did a fantastic job describing what happened as he crossed the street…narrowly escaping being hit by a car as we all looked on in fear. As he readies himself to start school, these are the scenarios that scare me the most. I wonder what the driver thought. Here is this six foot teenager lumbering across the street like he owned the place. I’m going to assume the driver misread in some way why he was crossing so dangerously, but thankfully he reacted correctly and there was no disaster. Misread situations and miscues happen all of the time in the world of Autism.
It was decided long ago that driving is probably not a skill that Billy is best suited for. He was completely right to say in his own description that he is often too cautious. Bill half-jokingly describes that if he ever did drive, a four-way stop sign would be his worst nightmare, forever letting all of the other drivers go first. Typically, when Billy crosses the street you can barely see headlights and he is waiting. That has always given me an odd sense of comfort. I cannot even tell you the disbelief and fear I experienced as I saw him step out in front of the car. I know I yelled his name, but it was the driver’s response that kept this from being a different story. As usual we talked to Billy as soon as it was over to figure out what happened. He completely misread the situation. He was very clear on what he thought and why he crossed. I’m so thankful for this. We have such an advantage with his ability to communicate; it gives us the opportunity to help him see the cues he missed by first hearing what he was thinking. I once again explained the importance of always trying to catch the eye of the driver, staying within crosswalks where possible, and remembering all the other parts of street crossing rules.
In our world of Autism, every detail of life needs to be taught. It is a hard concept for anyone outside of this world to understand…I get that. For us though, once Billy gets something, he is golden. i may just be bold enough to say he has street crossing down!