Picture the scene. Osborn, Pippa and I are on our way to Oxford to see friends who’ve invited the children to go Punting with them and their grandchildren. An uneventful journey with no hold ups or problems but as we’re trundling along the M40 Osborn asks about how a Motorway works. Good question I’m thinking, he’ll be learning to drive before I know it so I can explain how the lanes work.
Reality V Autistic Logic
I started by using the other cars on the road as examples of good and bad driving. The ones hogging the middle lane, the ones overtaking on the wrong side, what the fast lane is for and how bad driving can cause major accidents. So far so good. Then I mentioned the outside and inside lanes…..if only I could predict the logic they would apply sometimes my life would be so much easier!
Before I knew what was happening Osborn was looking puzzled and asking questions that made no sense. He said something about the inside lane being for cars overtaking. What? I’d already explained that the inside lane was for slower vehicles and should really be used by all cars as much as possible. Now I was the one with the puzzled expression!
Where ‘neurotypical’ logic doesn’t apply!
In his mind, the inside lane was the outside lane, hence the confusion. Why would you call that the inside lane I asked? They both responded with their logic that as the outside lane, as we call it, was the nearest to the inside of the overall motorway it should be called the inside lane and the inside lane should be called the outside lane! I could see their logic, kind of, and tried desperately to explain why the lanes are named as they are. I soon found myself in hot water trying to straighten out their typical autistic logic.
As is so very often the case with my kids the ‘argument’ raged for the entire journey. They just couldn’t see it! Having now looked at the information online I realise that this must be something that has needed clearing up as the official website talks about left, middle and right hand lanes. A little clearer I guess until you start talking to kids on the spectrum who view the motorway as a whole entity taking into account the lanes in both directions! They were both still arguing that the way it’s done isn’t logical when we arrived at our destination. Once again I was forced to end the conversation by saying “That’s the way it is regardless of how you see it so you just have to accept it!” Neither of them were impressed!
All I can say is Driving Instructors beware! Make sure your students understand exactly which lane is being referred to otherwise some of your newly passed prodigies will be driving the wrong way down the fast lane of a motorway!! Osborn and Pippa probably among them!!