Amazing spatial cognitive capacity
Since he was little, Kareem was interested in his surroundings; even if it meant creating a big mess using all possible items that he can get hold of.
A couple of years ago he discovered Google maps, and somehow realised that it was a map and asked about our house. Gradually it became his hobby to open the app and start looking for his own house by himself, even without accurate spelling.
He loves taking a virtual trip from his home to his relatives’ houses, the school, the park and then back. Tonight, he went to Google maps on the laptop and took his mother on a trip from home to church (over 2.5 miles across several turns and roads) then back to my house. From there he took her to a club he goes to sometimes then came back via the garage-not sure if he wanted virtual petrol! Then he went on to his school before going home. It is a long and complicated journey that requires a lot of cognitive skills and spatial awareness, as well as memory and recognition.
In real life, he has been walking between his house and mine confidently for a while- and won’t look to us when we walk behind. He walks looking ahead and does not look back. Now after several trips to school with this mechanism, he goes by himself through pedestrian lanes (with mum following behind and away from the road).
We are very thankful that he seems to have settled in the new school, though occasionally the school calls to take him because he did something he should not have done. When he gets frustrated and can not explain what he wants, or he faces the word “no” he will become distressed and throw things around. The trick is to anticipate his frustration and divert his energy to something positive. We also learnt to stop/forbid something without using “no”. Of course, sometimes I forget but he does not throw things at me, he just won’t do what I ask him. Then I have to think of different way to persuade him.
Perhaps using google maps may appear like a tiny thing not worth writing about. Yet for us every achievement is a really significant event for us -his family- that is worth celebrating. For one thing, it marks progress in his development and it makes him happy. This in turn makes us very happy and celebrating this is worthwhile and mitigates the frustrations of a world that is not always welcoming or understanding of difference
Bless you Kareem for all the pleasure you give me. You are my sunshine-literally.