If you had told me five years ago that I would be celebrating Halloween with my son with autism the same way most neuro typical families do, I would have had my doubts. I was always cautiously optimistic, yet afraid to show it. After all, there were speech therapy appointments, OT appointments, ABA sessions and play, music therapy and you name it to get through. This of course didn’t include the one on one early intervention work I did with Michael on the floor. It was fun, but took up a lot of our family’s time. I also worked on picto schedules, later social stories, to explain more complicated outings or family activities. Eventually it became seamless, and Michael joined in with the planning. Then, I could see he was really understanding things and connecting the dots in his social world about holidays and events.
A big dot was when he started understanding what Halloween was and meant, and picking out his own costume! Two years ago was the first time I attempted trick or treating at night in our neighborhood. Other than a little blip starting out that we had to start on a certain side of the street, things went smoothly after that. The few houses where Michael stepped inside to say hi seemed to find him charming and social. That never happened before. 🙂 But all jokes aside, it went well. Last year I had to be the one to tell him a half hour past his going home time, that my feet were sore and I was ready to go home! He was so excited. The only thing I was sad about was that we had no one to go with. I didn’t think to arrange that in advance. This year it will be different as he will be trick or treating with friends, and unless he changes his mind drastically, he wants Daddy to take him this year! My husband and Michael are both excited about this. I think it will be fun for them too and for me. I’ll be on the other end, giving out the treats at the house and waiting excitedly for news about how the trick or treating went.
Exceptional Parents, did you ever underestimate your child’s participation in events like Halloween? How do they participate now? I wish you and your children a very Happy Halloween! I also wish you many wonderful memories as you watch your children live out their childhoods similar to yours, only in an exceptional way. Until next time.