Tag Archives: surprises

Help your child with Aspergers to get the most out of Christmas

3 Dec

1 – if like my little man you’re child with Aspergers isn’t big on surprises then simply don’t surprise them! I used to hate that little man used to get anxious about what I was getting him for Christmas. He would worry himself sick that I’d get it all wrong so now he buys his gifts with me.

2 – Plan well ahead for Christmas Day. If possible try to spend Christmas at home so there isn’t to much change.

3 – We all know its the month for advent calendars. Little man can’t help but to open all the doors on day 1, just to munch the chocolate (sweet tooth like his mother).This year we are trying the LEGO Advent calendar and given he can’t eat the Lego this is working out pretty well.

3 – Let your child become involved in the overall planning of the day. Make a visual timetable together and let them hang it in their bedroom at least 3 weeks before the date.

4 – if your child has extra sensitive hearing and therefore freaks out every time someone decides to pull a cracker, then why not introduce an alternative to crackers. I shared a post on my sister blog mummy of many talents where I made cute table flavours made with a paper doyley and ribbon. You can pack this out with cracker treats and paper crowns so no one loses out.

5 – If your child is a fussy eater then its worth making a separate meal plan for them. however, do encourage your child to try some of what your serving up. Little man has gone from only eating a small selection of Christmas dinner to most of what we eat which makes dinner time a much each time.

6 – Don’t be surprised if your child with Aspergers just laughs in your face when you announce that Santa is watching to see if his been bad or good. Little man was just 4 years old when he informed me that he knew Santa was a fictional being. He told me it just didn’t make sense and was not logical for a man with a white bead and fat belly to be able to deliver presents to every single child in the world, let-alone fit through their chimneys. Yes, it broke my heart but this is the way he is and I expect this (as long as he doesn’t ruin it for his siblings)!

7 – don’t over do the tape when you wrap the Christmas presents. Little man struggles more than most as he has difficulties with his fine motor skills and he becomes all fingers and thumbs as he sits frustrated as he tries to rip the paper of his gifts… I then have to sit unwrapping the gifts I’ve spent the night wrapping.

8 – Little man has a lot of trouble sleeping and Christmas Eve is no exception. If your child takes melatonin then try to stop giving it to them around 5 days before Christmas Eve. This means that when you reintroduce it come Christmas Eve the body is more excepting and it therefore works much better (after all there is nothing worse then meltdowns on Christmas Day).

9 – Let your child have time to unwind and relax doing what they want on Christmas morning. Don’t be offended if your child offloads the gifts to their bedroom and then wraps the duvet around them why they settle on the sofa watching cartoons. Little man does this. Its not that his not excited about his gifts its just that he needs time to unwind and fully wake up before opening anything… Things will soon liven up so just enjoy the peace and peel the spuds.

10 – Don’t forget batteries! Every child will throw a wobbler if you do, but the child with Aspergers just don’t get how you forget and meltdowns can be mighty.

11 – Avoid doing the food shop with the kids in toll. Its bad enough taking your child with Aspergers to the supermarket but if you take them at this busy time you’re just asking for trouble.

12 – I’ve been trying for years to stop little man asking family and friends how much they paid for his gifts and where they brought them from. Its just that he can’t help but know it actually eats him up inside if he doesn’t. Family have come accustomed to his probing and we try to not make to much of a big deal of it now. My mum will go as far as leaving the prices on for a peaceful life.

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A meltdown free Christmas (well almost)!

28 Dec

We are a family that all too often experiences a set of problems when it comes to holidays, special events and more. Christmas isn’t usually exempt from the list.

Over the year I’ve demonstrated a number of occasions that provoke change, excitement & anxiety for little man, the latest being our trip to Butlin’s.

However, I’m pleased to inform the world that despite one or two minor problems, a few tears and a little swearing, Christmas was a joyful occasion in the household of ‘A boy with Asperger’s’

We remained home the entire day, one very close understanding friend joined us and family dropped gifts off, the day before, or popped in for a brief moment. Christmas was a blissful occasion!

There was one meltdown, however this was not displayed by the Little man! Was it his 8-year-old sister or maybe his brother (at 2 this would sound likely)! No it was neither, it was actually me that had the meltdown! In true Christmas fashion, I had a mummy paddy when I misplaced a gift I had wrapped for a family member!

You see, I did make that classic stupid mistake of staying up the entire night to wrap every single gift I had brought. The sad thing was, I had only had around 2 hours sleep the previous night meaning that come christmas morning, I sobbed and moaned about everything and anything!

Yes, I found the gift, of course this was typically in the first place that I had looked, but throughout Christmas day, I lost everything I touched and considered myself on the blink of madness!

Despite my own temper tantrum’s Christmas was a blast there was family games, a lavish dinner and pudding and plenty of smiling faces on Christmas morning (though I really did feel like someone had kicked me in the stomach as I watched my children rip of the wrapping paper, I’d spent my entire sleepless night wrapping)!


One of the loveliest things about Christmas, was my youngest and his reaction to his presents. On opening all his gifts, his eyes were wide and his smile light the room as he shouted “Wow, Mum… Wow” Which did make me chuckle as one of his gifts was “Motorbike Max” from WOW Toys (which I must add his crazy about).

Alice-Sara was of course pleased with all her Monsters high dolls and accessories that I had trolled the shops in search off, and the Little man was relieved to get all that he expected with no sudden surprise (just the way he likes it). The Little man’s gifts were mainly made up of Transport Memorabilia, LEGO and of course a string of different Nerf products.

There was one gift I continually asked myself “Was, this a good idea” The huge Nerf-N-Strick blaster that I continually found myself the target off! Umm, next year… maybe not!

There was even a little baking, not bad for a non domestic goddess wouldn’t you say!

What a beautiful way to end the year!

“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

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