Tag Archives: blunt

“Mum, your christmas presents belong in the trash!”

2 Dec

23 

Days till Christmas

On Christmas morning the children wake you up at the crack of dawn, keen to get going on their marathon of gift unwrapping. Your Child squeals with delight and surprise when they discover what’s been hiding under the tree! 

 But what if they don’t? I mean, what if they say..

 “Thanks but no thanks” 

 How would that make you feel?

 As a mother of a child with Aspergers, I know all to well how that feels, except the words above are a not exactly of his choosing!

 “Yuck, that’s nasty”

 “How much was it?”

 “I don’t like these mum”

 “Have you got the receipt so we can exchange it for something way better”

 All these terms and more have been used by the Little man, you may feel his spoilt or selfish, greedy maybe!

 The reality is Little man don’t do well with surprises, the thought of someone getting him something not of use or something he doesn’t like is a total worry that could literally mess up his whole entire way of thinking. 

With this in mind, it is safe to say that,“No, my son does not believe in Santa Claus” that much is clear to see.

 His choices for gift have always been… Well, lets say a little “absurd” though I’ve noticed that since his been “allowed” to be part of a school community his slowly becoming interested in other things, things that are considered more “Socially accepted” (though I’m pretty sure that nothing will be able to replace his “special interest” in transport) you may think his a bit of an anorak? If he wasn’t my son, would I think the same? 

 Anyhow, regardless of any of that above (to be honest I don’t know why I’m even bringing that into it) because it will always be the same whether he likes buses, Lego or the latest Nerf blaster! The bottom line is, he don’t do well with surprises and unfortunately when them “Surprises” are not to his liking he doesn’t do well on subtlety either and it would seem that Little man isn’t the only one!

 Yes, I created the A boy with Asperger’s (ABWA) Facebook page around a year after this blog as kind of an extension, that I hoped would somehow do well in the world of  “Social media” and to my surprise, it went down a storm, so much so we now have eleven amins and almost 4,500 members. The page has seen myself and many others through some difficult times and for many Christmas seems to be one of those! 

 We are quite lucky in the fact that despite Little man’s present opening can be somewhat disastrous, if not thought through, and the fact he can be quite impulsive especially around lots of people, he still copes far better than some children on the spectrum during Christmas

 After engaging in a group discussion on the Facebook page this week, it came to light that the whole situation surrounding gifts and surprises, was by far one of the biggest issues for our children at Christmas. However there was a lot of discussion around the topic of Christmas dinner, social gatherings which sadly included visits from the extended family.

 I found many parents with the exception of a few, complained that their families failed to fully understand or even accept their child, which made occasions like Christmas even more difficult families.

 I mean… Our children don’t mean to be so blunt, it’s not as easy for them to smile politely and say thank you, when let’s be honest they feel the given gift is best of in the trash than actually taking up space in their bedrooms.

 I remember from such a young age, Little man would so bluntly show his utter disappointment in a gift he had received. This made me dread Christmas and birthdays, I used to try desperately hard to… “BEG” him if you like, to not say anything rude and if he didn’t like something we would sort it out when everybody had left to go home! He would just look at me before coming out with a thousand and one… “But why” questions. Once convinced he knew the drill I’d just about relax and out it would pop… “Nan… what ever made you think I wanted this” I’d go darting over from wherever I was and quite literally gag him.

 This isn’t always the case anymore and most of the family understand this is just his way! My mum learnt her lesson quite early on and began taking him shopping for his own gifts (not usually a great idea is shopping, what with the tendency to quickly convert into meltdown mode, due to the sensory overload of the busy situation) but like myself, my mother has a plan (one that doesn’t always work… it a 50/50 thing) quite periods and the mid relaxation break at a costa branch normally helps! Strange choice for an 11-year-old I know but a decaf with cream seems to somehow make a bad situation a not so bad one.

 While on my Facebook page reading some Crimbo tips from my fellow parents of children on the autism spectrum, I discovered a few I wanted to share!

 Please bear in mind some of these children find the whole occasion that is Christmas far too much to bear and cannot cope with it at all. Many really do not like the whole social situation that comes with Christmas, where little man wants to socialise, he just has difficulties doing so.

 Christmas tips for the family of a child with autism  given by parents from the ABWA facebook page.

 One of our admin on the page… My tip is, don’t do it! Jo has asked for no decorations, to know what presents are, to do very little, to spend it at home with a mince-pie or two just me & him & Dr who! I think the buffet idea is the best tip I’ve heard of, that and allowing aspies plenty of space away from it all if there is a family gathering taking place (L)

Parent from page… Jamie hates surprises and too many presents overwhelm her so Xmas starts tomorrow for us, a present a day for advent and anything she isn’t happy with I will swap for something she wants. Xmas day will be very casual with a couple of presents to open when she’s ready and no Xmas dinner, just a normal day as far as food is concerned!

 Parent from page… Eli is obsessed with his nintendo dsi and zones out when playing games so we take it with us when we go for family holidays and he has as much down time as he needs. We don’t force him to sit with us or socialise…. He seems to visit when he wants and the dsi gives us all some peace.

 Parent from page… All my family are very aware of Liams need to get away so they always tell him which room he can hide out in when he wants and we bring his ds and he is happy. No one is allowed into his chill out room, as for presents he gives me a list of what he wants including stocking fillers… I get what I can and pass the rest on to the others then we move onto a ratio, vouchers so many previous Christmas ruined because we bought what we thought he might like …..big mistake

 Parent from page… For kyles bedtime routine (kyle is just 5) we have made a picture board using photos we took of him doing various things, they look so nice and also I think it makes it more personal for his understanding when he sees himself doing it in his room etc. I am hoping to get something to attach the pictures with at the moment so its like his “diary” he has at school. I am now trying to get some of the other things we do like taking a bus trip out etc 🙂 hope this helps x

 Parent on page… My 7-year-old son knows every present he’s getting! Last year he went on and on and on and on and on and on for a month before xmas, I learnt this year and he helped me choose everything so no surprises but he doesn’t care lol. x

 Parent on page… Limit the amount of time friends and family spend visiting you – everyone has this big thing about spending the whole festive period together but for my son this is like torture. So we have family over on the xmas day bit and have a limit on the amount of time they can spend with us , and this helps my son to stay focused and calm as he knows there is an end in sight and he knows when the time is coming where he can chill and just be himself. I will say that my son has a thing about being fully dressed, and eating in front of people, so for him it is good to know that he only has so long left till he can strip and stuff his face with xmas goodies!

 Parent from page… For those, like my son, who hate opening presents if they don’t know what it is, ask the giver to write the label ‘To Jake, a toy tractor with love from Auntie Julie xx’. It takes the stress out of the moment. Of course,if they don’t want the tractor that could be interesting too!!. X

 Parent on page… It doesn’t matter if you don’t open the presents all in one go, we do ours over the whole day and sometimes keep hold of some for the next day too. It seems too overwhelming for my lot and I wouldn’t say they’re spoiled either!

All the comments above have been left on the ABWA facebook page and permission has been obtained for their use within this post. Please remember these are personal comments from parents of children on the autism spectrum and the comments will be protected by the copyright that protects this blog

Christmas… Little man style

29 Dec

At long last I write a positive post… And I’m loving it

The blog has been full of doom and gloom this past year! Ok there has been a happy post here and there… But only a small handful at the most. It brings me great joy to report some happiness has gone down in the Little man household … And it’s all thanks to a little thing called Christmas!

We tend to take no day for granted, as we know Little man can often blow like a volcano without any prior warning.  Christmas time can be incredibly stressful for any parent, However parenting a child on the spectrum at Christmas (like most days) can be a great challenge. Social gatherings, changes in routine, over excitement… ect… ect…  All these and more can be a child with asd’s nightmare.

The fact we have had such a hard time this year… What with the whole school situation and the up and coming tribunal, I just wanted us all to have one special day. Was it too much to ask the man above for….  A day without meltdowns or tears, a day where little man felt truly happy, and so did we? I just wanted Little man along with his brother and sister to have an amazing magical day.

Things were looking pretty bleak in the run up to the big day. Little Mans bedtime routine has gone of the wall… The “crazy”  Little dude is settling down to sleep at  6am… Not at all ideal when Mum needs to wrap a thousand gifts. I think it was a whole lot of everything that was contributing to this lack of sleep routine. Since the week before the children officially broke up from school, Little man hasn’t been (And isn’t going back!) As mentioned before in an earlier post… Little Mans mental wellbeing was becoming a great concern and for this reason I decided enough was enough! Luckily we have been told a statement is in the process of being drafted… we’ve just got to wait and see what’s in it and make a preference for a special school. The LEA have already asked all the maintain special schools in and out of the area. They either have no places, or can’t meet his needs… We have been offered five hours tuition in a library in till a school place comes up! What a bloody disgrace! I sure as hell wont be agreeing to this being put in part four of his statement. So…  My point is…. A lot has gone on, and the prospect of a meltdown free day was…. Slim!

Well… I had to eat my own Christmas hat! Christmas was a meltdown free zone. Given the fact Little man had rarely closed his eyes, and his tendency to be easily “set off” when sleep deprived… He  proved me wrong and was a star!

“OK… OK, I would be lying if I said he didn’t have the odd moment… But his ten and that’s what most ten-year olds have… MOMENTS! We had the brother and sister bickering, and he almost lost it when his sister began singing “All I want for Christmas is You” By Mariah Carey (He goes mental if people sing… But this isn’t acceptable and upsets his sister a great deal. He has to learn to tolerate this as his sister tolerates his “loud” singing at all hours… day & night) Apart from these Mini hiccups, We had a pretty awesome Christmas.

This year, given the fact Little man is a non believer in Santa… I let him choose his gifts. He hates surprises and if you get it wrong… “HE TELL’S YOU SO!” So I took my chances and stuck to the plan. I even broke one of my own golden Christmas  rules when I reluctantly agreed to take Little man out with me to the shops where all the crazy christmas shoppers rushed around us. We went the day before Christmas eve and I convinced myself I was in for some hard work… Again I eat my own hat… Little man coped well… If anything I was the one stressed and falling apart. There was one funny story to our trip…  I asked Little man to go to the collection point in Argos while I was at their Jewellery counter awaiting something else. We had been wise and had reserved a number of items via the net ensuring that they would be in stock and would save a great deal of time (Waiting & Aspergers… Never a good combination, as I was about to find out once more…) Once I had collected my item of jewellery I walked over to the collection counter where little man was stood. As I got nearer I could hear him talking to the assistant in an overly formal voice. “I’m not being at all funny, but… The number has been called, yet I don’t see the item I want… My ticket also say’s a six-minute wait… (he now looks at his watch)… I make it ten whole minutes” Can you just imagine the look on this guys face! I think he was utterly gobsmacked…. Once he had gone over my little man’s words in his own head… He replied, “I’m extremely sorry sir, but we have a small problem with staffing today and I will be sure to look for your item right away! Again I’m very sorry” Little man stood nodding like an old grumpy man, and I felt my cheeks glowing. I told the assistant I was very sorry… which lead little man to state… “Shut up Woman, You always undermined me” Lol… He was deadly serious and I was now gobsmacked alongside the assistant and my fellow Christmas shoppers. Sensing a volcano brewing I grabbed our order said my thank you’s and good byes and got us the hell outta there.

I often wonder where he finds these lines… He really does take in everything!

So…  Meltdown avoided… Shopping was a success 🙂

Little Man had been bleating on about getting a smart phone (htc) I was a little reluctant given the price and his age… However I discovered the HTC was a lot like my iPhone (Which he doesn’t leave alone) He would be able to download apps and these applications could have a great impact on his communication skills. There are educational games, applications aims at children with Sen and autism, social stories and more. Also little man has been using music as a de-stressing tool of late. He can listen to music for hours… Sadly the same song or set of songs… Over and Over. The phone doubles up as an mp3 player… Something I was already considering putting on his Christmas list, so the HTC was suddenly becoming very appealing! After finally agreeing we got on the net In the search for one. My god these things are like gold dust at Christmas and things were not looking promising…. Till… One of our local stores emailed me informing me they had just received two in stock and would put one aside for us to collect in store that or the following day. Little Man did not stop begging for his present early… I admit he did my brain so much damage I almost gave in! It was so worth the wait as Christmas morning he was over joyed… So much so that he stood crying! I’m not talking watery eyes… I’m talking River Thames! His father stood shocked, turned to me and said… “Why is he crying, don’t he like now?” He really couldn’t get his head around the fact his son was reacting this way due to sheer happiness. All though it was fantastic to see him so happy (been a while) he didn’t seem to stop! He cried on and off every few hours, he sat staring at it. He spoke about it non stop to anybody that would listen and he took it to his room where he recorded himself announcing  bus destinations!

Other things he added to his christmas list were… Safety pins, magnets, handwriting pens, stapler, new padlock, bus picture, 2011 diary, and lots of stationary items!

After three long days awake (that’s me by the way) due to sleepless nights with little man, Christmas shopping and looking after the children throughout the day, and wrapping Christmas presents till 7.15 am Christmas morning had finally had a huge impact on me… I  fell into bed Christmas night at just past midnight. My bed was warm and comfortable… To me it felt like the best place in the world! After having had such a beautiful christmas day… I thanked god and happily entered the land of nod 🙂

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