5 08/30/2012 parenting Autism

Diagonally parked in a parallel universe

Cuyler: “Mom, how old do you have to be to drive a car with autism?

Me: Cars don’t have autism. People do, silly!!
Cuyler (not appreciating my humour): “NO! How old when you have autism can you drive a car?
Me: Ohhh. Hmmm. I don’t know. I don’t think a lot of people with autism drive.
Cuyler: “But I want to drive a car when I’m sixteen!
He has been asking for months if he can drive when he turns sixteen. He has his car picked out (any car that is blue, really…)
I explained that his brain works differently and he might not be able to drive when he is 16. He is not happy with that.
I told him he needed to learn how to tie his shoelaces before he could drive a car.
And maybe learn how to ride a bike as well…
I hate having to explain why he can’t do these things (yet). He knows he has autism. He knows other kids who have autism and he talks about their similarities. He talks about their differences.
He does have some comprehension about what autism is.
He tells me regularly that he his going to get married and be a McDonalds worker.
I asked why McDonalds. He told me so he could get french fries all the time. Smart kid.
He tells me he wants to go to college like Andy from Toy Story 3.
I love that he thinks about his future. I love that he has expectations for himself.
Will he go to post secondary? Will he get a job? Will he get married?
I don’t know. I have to expect he will.
Because if f I don’t — he won’t.But WHOA I dread the day he turns 16 and asks to drive a car. There is so much judgement necessary for driving. Driving is such a dynamic task with total unpredictability at every turn.
So many things to focus on. Speed. Signs. Lights. Pedestrians. Directions. Other drivers.

I just don’t know.
If I’m being completely, brutally honest – I have to say no. No he will not drive a car.
But he might. I will never say that he will never do anything. I just can’t raise him with NO as an option.
But really? Driving?
But probably not.
But who knows.
Who knows…
Ten years ago cars couldn’t park themselves.
Ten years from now maybe they will be able to do all the driving.
Wouldn’t that be great?
For now we’ll focus on two wheel bike riding before we pack it away for the winter.
  • Kelly Campbell Rutherford

    What is true now was not true ten years ago. Life, advances, and attitudes are changing pretty quickly. Everything in our and our children’s dreams should be a YES, I don’t see why not if you try and try again! Day by day….

  • Nancy

    Chris,I love and try to live by ” I just can’t raise him with NO as an option” Wise girl. Lucky boy. xoxoxo

  • Jen

    Totally, Christine. Who knows who he will be and what he will accomplish? But with you supporting and believing in him makes it all possible.
    This is true autism or not.

  • Sara

    I’m with Kath – your attitude is so awesome.

  • Kath

    Christine, I love your attitude – if you don’t expect these things for Cuy, surely he won’t. I need to remember that with my own kids from time to time! And you’re right, who knows what the future will bring for cars and for autism treatment?

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