Christmas/respecting our kids
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|Mon, 09-29-2003 - 11:04am|
Christmas can be extremely overwhelming for our kids from both a social and sensory standpoint--all those people, parties, presents, lights, colors, music, food, etc. When Chris was 3 or 4, he would get so overwhelmed by the whole present ritual that he would just shut down and leave the room, leaving many of his presents unopened. So rather than force him to open presents, we let him take Christmas at his own pace. I think it took him four days to finally open everything (one or two presents per day) and that was okay with us--no stress, no pressure.
Now, of course, having been immersed in information on dealing with Aspies for the past five years, I know that this was exactly the right thing to do. Who cares if it takes from Christmas to New Year's to get all the presents unwrapped? Far better that he have the time and space to manage the holiday at his own comfort level. Now, at age 11 (or he will be by christmas) Chris is much more able to participate in the holiday in a more "typical" way, and in fact, right now he is obsessed with the Christmas issue of the Oriental Trading catalog. If it were up to him, we'd have all kinds of Christmas crafts and knick-knacks to punctuate the holiday.
But I guess where all this rambling is taking me is this: we have to respect our kids where they are, regardless of where the grandparents, the school, and society think they should be. It's up to us to provide that safe environment that meets them where they are, and then gently get them used to things so that someday (maybe) they can progress to a new level.
End of musing.