Had a near miss this morning.
I was running late so we drove the short way to school. Yes, I know it was very lazy and the opposite of all the green credentials I pride myself on but there is nothing more likely to upset and /or slow down an autistic child than telling them to hurry up. So, anyway, we drove.
Wee man jumped out as he spied 2 friends walking and went to join them. I was slower as M was taking her time collecting her bag, hat and toy rabbit that currently goes everywhere with her. B (wee man) was so busy chatting that he walked straight across the road to the school without looking in either direction. Luckily for him the road was clear. I will have a chat (again) with him later about looking where he’s going. He knows about road safety but he’s not quite 8 and we have more work to do,
I digress. M walked slightly ahead of me which I don’t mind as usually I’m having to drag her. She stopped dead at the side of the road. As I caught her up I said, quite clearly, to reinforce all I am trying to teach her about safety “Good girl” and went to take her hand. In one of her greased-lightning super moves she had darted out into the road, straight in front of a van! My heart nearly stopped.
Luckily again, she went straight across the road and didn’t wander. And the van had obviously already cut its speed by the school and stopped easily. I signalled my apologies to the poor driver and went to M. What the heck were you thinking?” I almost shouted (I say almost as there is absolutely no point in ever shouting, M just cannot hear the words for the noise). “I said Good Girl not “walk out in front of traffic.”” She looked so hurt and confused. “I though you wanted me to cross Mummy. I didn’t hear what you said”
I am understandably extremely relieved that she is fine, and she went on to have a good morning in school. But, it does illustrate just how different her processing is from a neuro-typical person’s. The road wasn’t noisy, it’s a small county road in a rural backwater. There are fewer than 30 children in the whole school so they weren’t making any discernible racket either. There was no wind, hail or other adverse weather to distract her. But still she didn’t hear those two small words that I said clearly to her and could process them correctly.
Part of me feels slightly smug that about six months ago I told the Speech & Language Therapist that M has auditory processing problems and she argued with me. Now I have been proved right. I shared this incident with both M’s teacher, her learning assistant and the Head Teacher at the end of the morning, just so that they can be extra clear that sometimes she might literally not have a clue what has just been said.
In future she will not be walking ahead of me, for any reason. Hand-holding is the order of the day.