Making Routine Flexible b) Chris in the car

Because my parents live about an hour from each other, my nan in the middle and the general attitude in Cyprus that you can’t go anywhere without a car Chris spends a lot of his time in cars. He loves the journey, he always, always, sits in the front, he has complete control of the A/C and the radio. He likes the AC to always be on 2, and the volume to be on 20. He used to want it to be on higher but we’ve negotiated a lower volume so that people in the car can have conversations of their own, and also not go deaf.

I remember we used to have a remote for the radio in our old car (A REMOTE FOR A CAR) and my mum would have to lower the volume between songs. Needless to say, we never got away with it. This is another example of how incorporating something new/different (in this case volume) is more easily accepted when not forced, or done in a sly manner (like when i was 2-3 and my parents fed me fish and told me it was chicken). It’s better to approach it directly, explain the situation and be persistent and consistent with your choices. Eventually after negotiating a lot of volume numbers we settled on one that satisfied all passengers of the car. He used to pick the music, CD’s, and play each song at a different point in the journey. If we were delayed he would simply stop the CD and wait until we got to that specific place to start it up again. He loves music, he listens to it all day long. From Greek music to English, from the 60’s to the contemporary charts. He’s always loved music, I know because my mum has embarrassing videos of us dancing around in our house. I believe music helps them interact better, the sounds, the melody, that special song that makes you want to sing or dance along, it develops their senses and it makes them want to interact with people around them; or if not, at least they are interacting with the music itself. I would recommend incorporating music into their lives early on, have it in the background, make them move around with you during an up beat song, sing to them and accompany that with movement. A single song can make us smile or cry and our kinds aren’t different, they just need that push.

Another lovely thing about travelling with Chris is that you cannot, CAN NOT, sing in the car. Their sensors are bursting at that point and our off-key, often wrong sing-alongs are quickly squashed. This isn’t something he’s just picked up, he never liked us singing along to songs he was interested in, he’s enjoying the music so much that any attempt disturbs him.

If you see a kid somewhere shaking their heads, flapping their hands or jumping around, listen for music. That might be their way of dancing or expressing themselves, their expressions are so carefree and genuine. They don’t care if people are looking when thy’re dancing, or if their moves are out of date.

Educate yourself about Autism and join the dance.