Many Autistic People Get Lost VERY Easily
When I say many autistic people get lost easily, I don’t mean it just happens on unfamiliar streets and locations when we’re driving. I mean it can happen anywhere, even places we should be familiar with.
Now, I know not all autistic people have this issue. In fact, some have an excellent sense of direction.
Me? Not at all! I used to get so lost driving on what should have been familiar streets that I basically refused to leave my house unless it was to go to work, therapy, school, and the grocery store until GPS was invented.
Maps utterly confounded me, and driving directions made no sense to me whatsoever. When I did get lost and stopped to ask for directions, the person could have been speaking perfect English, and I couldn’t understand what they were saying.
Words like “south, north, east, and west” meant nothing to me. (They still don’t.) “Three blocks down?” What the heck is a block? Wilson Street? Are you kidding? Nope.
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The best way to improve communication with your autistic loved one is to understand how your autistic loved one’s mind works! Intentions, motivations, and personal expressions (facial expressions or lack thereof, body language, etc.), are often quite different in autistic people than they are in neurotypical people.
Experience a better understanding of your autistic loved one by reading books about life from an autistic perspective as well as stories that feature autistic characters. You’ll have so many “Ah ha!” moments and start seeing your autistic loved one in a different light (and you’ll have a better understanding of their behaviors, which you may have been misinterpreting up until now).
Books I recommend for a better understanding of your autistic loved one:
Thankfully, GPS expanded my horizons a bit, but I’m still fearful of driving on highways for other reasons (that’s another post), so it helped, but it only went so far.
I don’t just get lost while driving. I can get lost in a large office building and have trouble finding the exit. I can get lost trying to find my seat at a restaurant if I get up to go to the bathroom. I can even get lost in a house if it’s big enough.– Jaime A. Heidel
I can lose my car in a parking lot. I know, everyone does this, but it gets ridiculous after a while of frantic searching. To combat this, I say the number of the lot I parked in over and over and over in my head as I’m walking into the store.
Don’t even get me started on when buildings change or get knocked down, and my familiar landmarks are taken away. That’s MY uncanny valley. I might as well be driving on another planet all of a sudden.
If you didn’t get this from what I’ve been writing, I stay home A LOT, and I always travel the same exact roads.
If a road is closed, unless the detour is clearly marked step by step, I have to turn around and go home.
Why does this happen? I don’t know. I have always been this way. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to have a sense of direction.
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