Saturday, March 10, 2012

Directionally Challenged

“But Daddy, you need to turn right.” Our youngest son was three years old. He and my husband were on their way to some property to cut firewood. My husband’s old truck was lumbering down the road on a fine spring day. Our son loves time with dad doing ‘man chores’.  Wood cutting was sublime!
After about an hour’s drive northward from our home they came to a ‘T’ in the road and my hubby turned left. That’s when our kiddo pointed out Steve’s error.
“We’ve only been here once. You can’t remember. You are only three!” Daddy replied.
Our youngest kidlet sat back quietly in his car seat. Onward rolled the truck down a long isolated roadway until they came to a dead end.
My husband stopped. A solid wall of forest surrounded them. He sat for a bit, then turned the truck around and went down the road, passing the ‘T’, and eventually pulls into the lady’s yard that he was clearing in exchange for the firewood.
From what I understand, no more was said about the issue until my guys arrived home. Our son promptly marched into the kitchen and declared, “Daddy drove wrong but I fixed it.” Off he went off to find the dog. My husband was trailing behind with his head hung as if in shame.
Steve replayed the events of that morning for me, shaking his head the entire time in disbelief. “I couldn’t have done that at his age,” he insisted.
Of course not, dear! You have Aspergers, and can’t follow directions! You have no concept of direction or time. Driving requires quick thinking and actions which are difficult for you to do. When you realize you’ve missed a turn on the freeway you can’t stop and back up to the exit!
Steve has called me, totally lost and not knowing even which town he is in. He gets busy thinking and just drives. His dyslexia prevents him from reading street and directional signs. He misses off ramps on the freeway. He doesn’t ‘see’ speed limit signs. His Aspie rules of the road ‘allow’ him to run stop signs and stop lights “if no one is looking”. Why should he stop at an intersection if no one is there?
I no longer allow our kids to ride with him. I do all the driving when we are together. Since I am not his mother, I can’t force him to turn in his license. Fortunately, for many years now he has been carpooling to work most of the time. Occasionally he has meetings, and drives himself around. I pray harder for him on those days.
I wish he would stop driving. I am a most willing chauffeur. There is always hope.

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