Saturday, 23 October 2010

Tick Tock, Tick Tock

Yesterday whilst at college something happened that made me smile!

A student had arrived for his class very late, his tutor asked him why he was so late. The response was something along the lines of ‘I was still in bed’. The tutor firmly reminded him that he knew what time his class was and that still being in bed was not a good enough excuse. The student (by now sitting on the floor) was then reminded that bearing in mind that he was late and that he knew what he was supposed to be doing, it would be a good idea to sit at a computer and get on with it.
Why did that make me smile? This student as far as I know has some form of Autism…

This scenario reminded me of our life. Autism (of any form) and clock-watching don’t go hand in hand. I’ve often told her that I will be shocked if she can keep a job when she is older as she has absolutely no concept of time. That sounds harsh doesn’t it, but those of you who live with people on the spectrum will know exactly what I mean (I hope!).

Getting her out of the door when she’s supposed to be somewhere at a set time is like mission impossible. Yes, we’ve tried getting her up earlier, we’re tried giving her a timer, a clock, we’ve tried it all… and alarm clocks!!!!! She doesn’t even hear them. We could have thirty of them and she still wouldn’t hear them! Honestly, when she is finally asleep she’s out cold.

It all comes down to one thing really, time doesn’t exist for these children. They do things when they are ready to do them, not when you want them to do them!

In theory, it’s a lovely thought isn’t it? Doing things when we’re ready to do them? Practically, obviously it doesn’t work… imagine turning up for work at the supermarket halfway through the day and there’s hundreds of people waiting for you to open the doors! Imagine a doctor’s surgery where the patients and the doctors turn up when they feel like it. Imagine plans taking off when the pilot felt ready to get into the plane.

OK, so having said that they do things when they are ready to do them, they don’t actually do it on purpose. They get just as frustrated as we do, ‘B’ often says she doesn’t mean it to happen but she just doesn’t get why time is so important. She even knows that getting up earlier won’t work but she doesn’t know why it won’t work. In her world she thinks she’s on schedule! Good job I have a fairly flexible timetable but not all of us have that luxury.

But seriously, I do wonder how she will cope in the big wide world. She’s really, really smart but her timekeeping is not going to help her hold a job down. Knowing what our school experiences were like, do bosses even exist that could comprehend something like this?

Till next time
‘B’s Mum