Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Little, Big Leap

We were running late. I needed to drop the kids off over with Dan at the business since I had singing rehearsal at church that evening. The plan is usually I drop them off for about an hour on Thursday evening and then Dan takes them home.

A little earlier, I'd called and told Dan when we'd be over. When we got on the highway, we hit traffic. I tried to call him again but he didn't answer his phone. Then, not only did the traffic slow us down, but my inner airhead came out and we got in the wrong lane at a long light, which meant I had to turn instead of go straight. And then I couldn't make a U-turn so I had to keep going, waiting through several lights, turning around in a parking lot, then getting in another long line for the light to now turn left and get back to where I was supposed to be going.

"Arrrgggh," I said in frustration to no one in particular. "We are REALLY running late."

"Mamma," said Ethan from the back, concern in his voice, "What if daddy is worried?"

No. Way.

He did it.

He put his head into someone else's head.

He took their perspective.

He wondered what his dad might be wondering.

In Autism World this is not just a simple statement. This is a big deal. In Autism World, you hear a lot about Theory of Mind, and about how people on the spectrum either don't have it, or struggle with it. Theory of Mind is the ability to attribute thoughts, beliefs and emotions to others and to understand they may be different from your own.

It's the type of thing that enables you to stop yourself from saying something so you don't hurt a person's feelings. To find a good hiding place during hide and seek where you know the other person won't look. Even to lie if you anticipate your parents will be angry about something you've done.

Ethan knew we were late and thought about what his dad might think about that.

(On a side note, we arrived five minutes later, and of course Dan wasn't worried, because Dan's not a worrier.)

Theory of mind. In action, in the backseat of the car.

Suddenly, I wasn't so annoyed at being late anymore.

1 comment:

Jenny Coe said...

Thank you for educating me so much on Autism. These posts are great!