I can still remember one of Michael’s first Easter celebrations, both the religious and secular celebrations. He was in awe of church, the candles, the people and loved the balloons he had gotten at the end of the mass. Our family celebration was a little much for him at one of the cousin’s houses, but I was slowly learning to bring his “toys” with us to help him regulate as well as his sensory brush. We were doing Wilbargher protocol. He was around four years old. Prior to that, the years are a little bit of a blur. We did not know Michael had autism. All we did know was that he struggled during holidays, big events, and it was hard for him and us to have a good time. As he got older, I saw a real understanding of what the holiday meant and he began to grasp how to do an Easter Egg hunt. We started taping them and still do as tradition, though I began taping them so he could watch those tapes if he ever needed a reminder as to what we did on the holidays. Soon enough though, his amazing memory took over and he had no problem keeping in mind the tradition year after year.
We’ve had lots of changes over the years. Michael has gone through enjoying church with feeling overwhelmed, believing with not believing, and going through the motions of the holiday with actually enjoying many parts of it. The best advice I can give parents is to go with your child’s flow. Let them set the course for the way you want to celebrate the holiday with your family-no pressure, no stress. This is what has worked for our family. We have our standard traditions like Easter egg coloring, attending Easter mass and visiting family, but the rest we wing it. The important thing is you listen to your child and signs of what they need and don’t.
Exceptional Parents, what are some of your favorite Easter traditions? What are things you love and things you steer clear of? Remember, always listen to your parenting gut, your child and your family. You will know what steps to take. Happy Easter! Until next time.