Minion Monday – Autism takes a Holiday!
I love holidays.
Really, all of them.
I think they are all awesome.
However, my autistic son is not so fond of change.
Routines are kinda his thing.
Holidays are anything but routine.
Halloween is my favorite holiday.
Each year we would go above and beyond decorating our yard and house.
In our last house we even turned our house into a giant monster with big arms off either side and a mouth where the front door was.
When we bought our current home I was so excited!
We live in an 1890’s Victorian.
I imagined so many great things.
I had a grave yard planned, spiders dropping from trees, so many cool and scary things.
The 1st year, here my son was diagnosed with autism.
I went on with my spooktacular ideas.
My son, refused to go outside.
When I decorated the front hall with skeletons and ghosts, spider webs and “body part” filled jars.
He stopped sleeping. He wouldn’t go near it.
I didn’t make the connection for a week.
So we took down the inside stuff and toned down the outside stuff.
Then came Thanksgiving.
Every decoration we put up came down in the night when we thought he was safe in bed.
No Hanukkah candles. He melted-down faster than they did.
The Christmas tree had to be put in the front room instead of the family room. Otherwise he would remove and hide the decorations.
By the time January rolled around I was sure we would never have the holidays I wanted.
I was heart broken but my son came first.
The next year I did pretty much no decorations.
Anytime I put any up he would take them down at night or have meltdown after meltdown until I took them down.
The next year I learned a trick or two.
Go slow, and have him help.
Little changes were tolerated.
Including him, talking about why (even when I was still not sure he could understand me), going over each thing slowly. Letting him decide what goes where.
Easter I could put some eggs hanging from the tree, a bunny here and there.
Halloween I got my spiders and a small grave yard.
Thanksgiving I was even able to get a centerpiece on the table.
An electric menorah.
Finally, we managed a small tree, with kid friendly decorations and stockings!
Slowly things changed.
It was AWESOME!
Birthdays were a nightmare, if you sang with him in the house, or lit a candle he would loose it.
We learned to not include him. (He won’t eat cake anyway)
His birthday we would try again and each year same result.
He would meltdown faster than a snowman the oven.
This year was different.
This year we tried something a little less overwhelming.
We did birthday pancakes.
We used just one candle, left the lights on and sang softly.
We were rewarded with a big smile and he blew out the candle.
No tears, no meltdowns just a smile and I even got a hug!!!
My birthday is in 2 days.
Normally we don’t include him when we sing or blow out the candles.
This time I have been teaching him the birthday song.
Now I am going to try and get him to at very least sit when the rest family sings to me this year.
While, it would mean the world to me if he sang along.
I will be happy if he doesn’t run screaming.
Not matter what happens I know that I won’t give up.
If it doesn’t happen this year we will try again.
Next goal, a costume.. maybe he will be a minion for me..