It was a tough day, as I recall, subbing for one of my friends who is a Physical Education (P. E.) coach’s aide. The school had grades from kindergarten to the fifth grade, from 5 year-olds to 11-year-olds. It isn’t always the case, but that day it was the kinder who outperformed the other grades at not following instructions, successful at not paying attention, and sensational at tattle-telling on each other.
There were a few kids in each grade who were in their own world on the gym floor. Their attention spam was near zero. The coach’s instructions fell off their ears. If she said to jog, they either ran as if their shoes were on fire or walked at snail’s pace. I imagined going up to one of them, holding their sweet face in my hands, and asking, “Hey, is there someone in there?”
Truth is, I am often in my own world too. Sometimes I zone out when I’m supposedly watching the kids on the gym floor like a hawk.
One of my fellow travelers on the Spectrum who attended this school’s autism unit reminded me of an escape artist. Without any prior notice, he would break away from the classroom without leaving it. A sure sign he was in his own world was when he in the middle of class do his imitation of a drummer. His sweet compassionate teacher knew he needed to do his escapism now and then and within limits she did.
I was an escape artist at his age and still am! I try not to do an “escape” demo for public consumption though, especially when I’m at school. I know that escapism is just plain weird to the eye of the beholder. Living between two worlds is just one of many things some of us autistics do.
I maintain a sense of humor about zoning out. Such as one time when I was walking into my favorite electronics “toy” store, Best Buy. When I first came inside the store, I was mentally off in my own world just as the school kids had been. It wasn’t until after I walked into the store that I was awakened to the “real” world by the feel of chin straps. Ought oh! Other shoppers might have wondered “if someone was in there”. Why? I don’t normally shop with my bike helmet on.