When you have two kiddos with autism- each with extremely different sensory needs, a simple task like taking a ride in the car can turn into quite the adventure. Read: nerve jangling disaster.
The car issues all started right after Nate was born- Jack was about two and a half and almost immediately after I brought Nate home Jack started screaming bloody murder every single time I turned on the turn signal. How many three year olds become conditioned to, instead of screaming, say “mommy is a law abiding citizen” when mommy turns on the turn signal? It was the only work around I could think of at the time.
He also went through a period where if I drove past a large group of trees or anything else that generated shade, he would have a complete meltdown about the shadows in the car. As though I can control that? And the radio issue continues- it must be turned off before we pull into the driveway or all Hell breaks loose. And he can tolerate a very short playlist of songs- he used to scream about this as well, but we have worked on him simply saying “skip” if the music is bothering him.
This doesn’t even cover the whole “driving” thing. I can’t turn corners unless I do so very slowly or he screams, can’t drive behind certain cars, or let alone buses. If we are caught in traffic he yells “we’re still moving!!!!” Speed bumps- they’re bad news. Jack shouts every time we go over one. He also notices immediately if I take a different route than usual and this upsets him quite a bit. I get that he is not doing this to be difficult and feel really bad that he experiences these things so intensely. I’m just saying- it makes for interesting driving.
Thus far in life, Mr. Nate has been very straight forward. He cries for one reason when we are in the car- if we stop. Recently he seems to be noticing this quite a bit more. In the last week it has escalated, and it’s pretty darn cute. He sits in the back seat and if I stop or even slow down he yells “go, go, go!!!” I feel like a sled dog, he may as well shout “mush! Mush!”
Honestly, I try to speed up when he does this, or pray for the green light. I want him to feel empowered when he makes the effort to communicate with me. In the mean time between my two kids I am starting to question who is actually driving this car….