Autism Spectrum Disorder

19 October 2014 · Brisbane ·

Mr Lin Dixon went AWOL on Thursday morning. I was at work. Alan had rung for the cab about two hours before the cab was to pick our Lin up.  Alan often gets the boss lady instead of one of the switch girls who know Lin and his usual pickup times. The boss lady mustn’t be accustomed to bookings because she has made a mistake every time Alan has spoken to her. This time she sent Lin to Help Enterprises Strathpine instead of Help Enterprises Mitchelton. I did not panic when Mitchelton rang me to say he wasn’t there. I just assumed that the cab had been despatched to the Blue Care facility at Red Hill, which is the other community learning centre Lin goes to. I rang Alan and asked what language he used when he rang the cab company. “English” he replied. (Don’t you just love him?  The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, methinks.”) “No, I mean, what did you say precisely?” “Help Enterprises Chessum Street Mitchelton he responded.” And he said he repeated that clearly.
So from that, I ascertained the error was not ours. Then I rang the cab company and immediately one of the switch girls apologised most emphatically and proceeded to tell me the story from their point of view.   She assured me that they’d paid for another cab to take Lin to Mitchelton.  Meanwhile, I rang Strathpine to find out how Lin had coped. “Oh, fine”, said the young woman.  She had approached him and asked what he was there for. “I’m Mr Dixon and I’m here to see you”, he had replied.  Then the cabbie appeared and said he needed $5 more and Lin suggested giving him 5 cents to which the lady replied that the cabbie needed the pink note. Lin handed his wallet to the lady. From that gesture, she immediately ascertained his level of vulnerability and set about finding out where he came from and where he belonged. Meanwhile, he removed his earplugs every time she asked him a question in order to respond to her.  She decided to allow him to continue to listen to his music because doing so would clearly lessen the possibility of a rise in anxiety. Eventually, he arrived at Mitchelton none the worse for wear.
We had a little talk to him about paying a bit more attention when it looks like the cabbie might be going the wrong way. We told him that he could tell the cabbie if he felt he was going the wrong way. I’ll have to reiterate that and be clear how I word it. Lin has been known to hop in someone else’s cab and tootle off to their home or suggest to the cabbie to pop off to Scarborough to visit Anna Tullemans in the past. Admittedly that was back in his school days, but you just don’t know when a young man’s fancy may turn to visiting friends.