The Cart Before the Horse
I have created my own interpretation of “putting the cart before the horse.” Under my direction (coercion?), Cameron has purchased his first car. Cameron does not have a driver’s license. Cameron doesn’t even have a learner’s permit. But now, thanks to me, he has a car.
At this point, you may have the same look on your face as my husband did when I told him of my plan for Cameron to purchase this car. But in my defense, the exact make, model, price and even color of car Cameron and I had been discussing as a potential first vehicle became available through a close family friend. It was an opportunity I just couldn’t let pass by. I also thought that Cameron seeing the car in front of the house every day would be incentive for him to study hard and pass his knowledge exam so that he could begin to learn the process of driving in his own car. And another excuse up my sleeve to counteract that look on my husband’s face was my worry that Cameron’s savings account would impact his SSI  application. (The application that will be filed if I ever get up the strength to go through the process of scheduling an interview at our local Social Security office.) So finding a good deal, knowing the previous owner, and moving cash into an allowable asset all seemed like perfectly fine reasons for Cameron to purchase a car before he knows how to drive. Right?
Prior to purchasing the car, Cameron had attempted the knowledge exam once before. I hadn’t really helped him study, other than reading the manual and doing a few online sample exams with him. The fact that he didn’t pass wasn’t a great surprise. But he needed a state issued ID card, so I thought while we waited in line at the DMV, he might as well give the exam a try. Since the first failed attempt, I made study notes on index cards for him. I illustrated them to appeal to his visual learning. I highlighted the manual for him. I went through practice test after practice with him. I don’t claim to be a great teacher or tutor by any stretch of the imagination, but I really felt that the studying we were doing together would help him pass the exam. So when Cameron tried the knowledge exam for the second time last weekend and failed again, I felt a very familiar pang of self-doubt. Was I in denial all over again? Was this like Cameron being in kindergarten and me still hoping to see him catching up on standardized test scores? If I feel this disappointed by his not passing, how does he feel about it? Am I setting him up for undue anxiety over driving?
Well, maybe failing twice is not a reason to despair. I know Cameron wants to drive, and Cameron has never ceased to amaze me by what he can do when he puts his mind to it. But this is the first time he’s been tested outside the comfort of his special needs, modified-curriculum school. Will he pass the test? I honestly can’t say. But I can say that reality checks aren’t just for the newly diagnosed.