Monday, January 6, 2014

Split Second Decisions and Instinct

Friday night I was heading out to pick up my daughter at a local church pizza party. There was still some ice/snow/slush frozen on the roads but not too bad.

The first half mile to our little town is hilly. As I topped one, I was startled to see a neighbors truck and horse trailer sort of sideways in the road trying to come up the hill toward me. Standing next to the trailer was Michelle.

Instinctively I hit the brakes (mistake #1 on the downhill side of a hill covered with aforementioned ice etc.) I started to slide of course. My next worry was hitting either Michelle or Carl's truck or trailer. Did I mention he has a prize-winning cutting-horse inside?

All I could do was try to guide my slide (clever phrase huh?) so I headed to the ditch on the side of the road. It's not a deep ditch but more of a swale to handle water runoff and stuff. That slowed me down but not before I hit something that made a loud "thunk." Almost immediately a tire pressure warning light came on so I assumed I had blown out a tire. But first things first, I had to get down the hill without hitting anybody.

I made it down OK and stopped to get out and go back and see if there was anything I could do to help and all. Carl and Michelle had things under control so after exchanging a few words, I headed onward to pick up my daughter.

(Note: I did not blow out a tire. I guess it "knocked the breath" out of it, enough to make a warning light come on but nothing else. I crawled under my tiny car yesterday to see if I had damaged anything and could not find anything so ...)

Follow me here.

Some of our friends and relatives know we have a daughter with Asperger's; that thing that used to be its own diagnosis but now is lumped back in with Autism per the DSM 5 revisions.

Asperger's, if it is anything, requires some counter-intuitive actions and responses. I can't tell you how many times I get into a situation and try to do the right thing, the common sense thing but it backfires. We've all been in certain situations dozens of times and when certain things happen, we do or say certain responsive things.

With my daughter, I need to take a beat and NOT do the routine, instinctive thing. I'm not talking reverse psychology or trying to fool her, just NOT doing the normal neuro-typical thing every time.

So my object lesson from my slip-and-slide (and hopefully going forward), don't always let my gut or my instincts rule. It almost got me in trouble when instead of remembering I was on slick snow/ice etc. and thinking DON'T HIT THE TRUCK/WOMAN/TRAILER, I should have thought to slow myself down considering the conditions first, then work on avoidance. If I couldn't have controlled my slide, I was going to hit somebody/something anyway.

As parents, we usually know what to do or say. But sometimes (even with non-Asperger's children!) it doesn't always work out right.

As for Asperger's, my 2014 goal is to think first, then speak or act; if necessary. Going to be tough for me. I'll let you know how it goes.

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