After I talked to the behaviorist (Charlie had art class; got upset for 10 minutes when asked to play Bingo around 11.30am, same time as yesterday; the behaviorist noted that one "behavior" a day is great and I told her we see it the same way at home: who doesn't get frustrated, mad, fed up with it all, ready to say the equivalent of "I've had it" at least one time a day?)----Charlie and I got in the white car and headed home. As we neared a certain busy intersection, Charlie started saying "this way" and then "that way."
"Right?" I asked him. "Right, yes," said Charlie. So right we went. A quick glance in the rear view mirror revealed him checking out the shops and other landmarks. "Straight?" I asked as we came to a traffic light. "Straight," responded Charlie, with careful pronunciation of his "r."
I had a feeling that Charlie was taking me on one of his bike routes with Jim, the one that goes over a certain bridge, and I was right, as the road we were on goes "straight" to it. We went up and over the bridge and then into a really busy area. "This way, this way," said Charlie, pointing. I knew home was "left" wards and that was the direction Charlie wanted to go in.
He really does know his way around.
That's been the case since Charlie was very young. When he was not yet two years old (and not yet diagnosed with autism), he could always find our then-car (a forest green Saturn, the original one) in the mega-parking lots of Minnesota chain stores (Cub Foods in particular). He knew that going left not right out the door of our St. Paul duplex meant that he would not get to see two of his fascinations, a stone wall at the end of the block and, a couple of blocks away in a playground, a red spot of paint. Then Charlie was fixed on getting to some goal. Now he seems equally, if not more so, aware of how to get there; of the process.
After a late afternoon bike ride with Jim on the new urban route, Jim noted that, when he points or when he even simply looks towards oncoming traffic, Charlie looks that way too, and stops. Jim doesn't have to say a word.And, based on Charlie assuming the role of navigator in the car, it seems he's transferred what he's learned about cars and traffic from riding his bike to riding in the car.
I can't resist saying it: He really is going places, and thanks to his own smarts.
Yes yes, Charlie needs to be accompanied by someone else (at this point, us) when going anywhere. Yes we do know, hope, that someday he'll be able to manage with someone (completely trustworthy) else. But when we say, we go with him, we really mean it.
As for why "behaviors" at approximately the same time every day: a link to Charlie's medications (he takes these when he wakes up, around 7am)? because 11.30am is one of those "witching hour" times (another for Charlie has long been 2-5pm) when his energy is at a lull? because (the behaviorist speculated) that was when he ate lunch at his old school, but not now?
At his old school, "behaviors" happened at 11.30am, but also at other times of the school day. Needless to say, we'll be keeping an extra eye on Charlie around that time this weekend.
I do feel that, in a slow and as usual stumbling kind of way, we're all striking out in some new directions on this journey with Charlie.