Monday, July 11, 2016
Will My Son With Autism Ever Drive?
Tommy is 14. He has Autism.
Next year, when he's 15, he can get his learner's permit. But I wonder if he will. Sometimes I even wonder if he'll ever drive. Period.
It's mainly because he tends to meltdown if he gets overwhelmed. And sometimes driving can be overwhelming. What will happen if someone cuts him off? Suppose someone hits his car? Will he know how to respond? Or will he burst into tears and allow the person to drive off? Suppose he hits someone? I know he'll completely go into meltdown mode if someone screams at him. He doesn't like it when people are upset.
There are so many questions that I have running through my head. So many. He tells me he thinks he can drive, but I see the hesitation in his eyes. Then I wonder if I'll be stuck driving him everywhere for the rest of my life. And then I feel guilty for thinking that way.
I think back to when he was two. I started noticing something was off about him. He wasn't speaking. He's garble out a few words, but he wasn't putting sentences together. I'd take him to the park and kids his age were rambling off all sorts of words. Playing together. Meanwhile, my son was off in the corner speaking gibberish walking back and forth, back and forth.
I'd later learn this was called stimming.
Honestly, I'd wonder if he'd ever speak properly. I could understand him, because I stayed home with him and learned his mannerisms. I hated to see him grow frustrated when people didn't understand, so I figured out what he wanted to tell me early on. I'd interpret his grunts for Tom. "He wants a drink," I'd explain, when Tommy would press his sippy cup into his knee and mutter, "Daba." But I admit, I'd watch the other kids speak clearly to their parents and wonder if Tommy would ever do that. Would it always be the grunting?
Then, around four, the words began to form. They weren't always clear, but they were clear enough for me. I felt awful for ever doubting him. Of COURSE he'd talk, how silly of me to think otherwise.
So now, when I wonder if he'll ever drive I think, remember when you thought he'd never talk?
He's capable of anything.
And even if he doesn't drive, it's okay. He's smart. He can figure out bus schedules. He can ride his bike. Not everyone drives a car, after all.
He'll be okay. He'll show everyone what he can do.
He'll amaze me like he always does.