Saturday, May 14, 2011

Living In Two Worlds

Actually, to be correct, I should say that Kalisha lives in three worlds. She lives in the autism world, where she sees and understands things in a very different way than most typical people do, but the two worlds that I want to tell you about, are different 'age' worlds. Obviously, her chronological age and her mental age are not the same, but sometimes, she desperately wants her life experiences to be at her age level.
If asked what she wishes she could do "the most" she will answer that she wants to be able to drive. She has wanted this since she was sixteen and her peers were getting their licenses. Then her nieces and nephews were able to drive and it became even more evident that she was always going to be at the mercy of someone who could drive.
It took Kalisha three years, (off and on, literally :)) to master riding a bike. It is difficult for her to multi-task, so when she was concious of her steering, she would take her feet off the pedals, and when she was looking at her feet to pedal, she was unaware of where she was steering. Crash!  She did finally accomplish it and she was very proud of herself, but riding a bike and driving a vehicle are light years apart.
 She really wanted to drive, so I hired a company to come to our house and do a 'driving evaluation test'  just to make sure that I. as a protective parent, wasn't denying her something that she actually could do, on a limited basis. They usually do these tests for elderly people to verify the fact that they should no longer drive a car. There were simulated gas and brake pedals and a steering wheel. The evaluator would give driving scenarios and Kalisha would react; with the device recording reaction times, etc. It would have made a great You Tube video.
The evaluator had a sense of humor and when Kalisha quizzed him about the results, he said, "Well, young lady, you hit two dogs and ran over a mailman." Needless to say, she could not get a license.
It bothers Kalisha that everyone she knows who is her age or close to it, is either in college or has a degree, has a boyfriend, is married, has a good job, has children, lives on their own, etc. etc. She wants to do all of those things and live in that adult world. Occasionally, she goes to a country music concert with a friend and gets a chance to be 'grown up.' A week ago, they went to the Kenny Chesney Concert and posed with the Hooters girls for a picture.
Is that a hoot or what? Hooters hats and all! Neither one of them has ever been to a Hooters restaurant and probably never will be, but wanted the picture, anyway.

*I apologize for the quality of the pictures;Kalisha took the one of Kenny Chesney with her phone and I don't have a clue why the Hooters one is fuzzy.
She is an avid Indianapolis Colts fan (another upcoming post) and knows the players AND their positions and the plays. She can talk Colts and teams with anyone.

That is one world . In Kalisha's other world, she still likes little girl things. She loves going to Build-A-Bear and has a collection of them.

She also collects American Girl dolls and knows all of their stories.
 She doesn't play with them; just wants them where she can see them.
She also likes to play with her 9 year-old niece and a neighbor girl. They play school and write with sidewalk chalk and go to the park. You might think that Kalisha is just baby-sitting them, but she is not. She is one of them. In fact, she is never the teacher or the leader, always the follower.
 My heart breaks for her sometimes. It must be difficult to readjust your thinking from Kenny Chesney to Build-A Bears, but she seems to do it effortlessly.
There was a time when I tried to tell her not to play with the little kids, that she looked silly out there. But I did realize that I was the one who was embarassed, not Kalisha. If she is having fun with 9 year-olds, who am I to deny her that?

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:21 PM EDT

    That breaks my heart for her that she can be aware of what she is missing & unable to attain these situations. Does she always miss them or just when she is in that age frame of mind?



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