Sorry for not posting yesterday – I got caught up with a few things at work, and my curling night is on Thursdays this year, so… just a bad combination of things all at once. I’m going to try to make sure that they get out earlier in the day on Thursdays (or perhaps just write the Thursday posts on Wednesday…) So, I’ve been debating if I was actually going to write about this.
I’m sure a lot of parents of children with Autism, know the feeling that we’re going through. Even though it was Halloween this week, it’s not readily apparent that the Monster grasps what the holiday is about. His grasp on what day it is is tenuous at best without constant reminding, even though he knows the days of the week… and then throwing into it something that’s an occasion that only comes once a year…
The Halloween party at the office was fine, for instance – he grasps the concept of a party (namely, lots of food that he’s not usually allowed to eat in quantity), and the fact that he was in a costume really wasn’t anything spectacular for him. That, the crowds, and whatnot makes me glad that he doesn’t have sensory issues like a lot of other children I’ve seen with Autism.
On the other hand… I’ve also seen no real sign of comprehension at things like trick-or-treating and the like. We never did get out for a dry run due to the hurricane, and by the time Wednesday rolled around, it was cold and wet, and we just ended up not going out. (Our neighborhood’s not big on the holiday either, so we didn’t have any one come to the door.)
For me, the hardest part of the Monster’s Autism is just dealing with figuring out how to reach him on matters, and trying to give him the tools to cope with life outside of our house. He’s just starting to learn to write, for instance (and has handwriting only a doctor could love/imitate). But he’s still inclined – even on coming home – to ring the doorbell instead of entering when the door’s obviously already open, and he’s not quite sure what to do with a phone. My thought is that next year, God willing, both he and the baby can go trick-or-treating together when they start to understand the ritual behind it and it’s not just us ‘coaching’ how to do it…
For my wife, though, the hardest part of the Autism seems to be the litany of things he can’t do. Halloween turns into another day where there’s a deluge of reminders that our child isn’t ‘normal’, with the slew of images on Facebook of friends’ children who are dressed up and going out, the talk about how kids behave at the door, things like that. And that’s a very heavy weight to watch fall on someone – it’s not anything I haven’t seen other parents get crushed under, whether their children have Autism or other issues. (Plus, it hurts a lot to see her hurting like that, knowing I can’t do anything to change the situation.)
I’m constantly hopeful that what they’re doing at school is going to help him catch up. We know that he’s socializing more with other children – that part we see – even if his verbal ability isn’t increasing as much as we’d like, even if we’re not hearing anything from his OT. But these days – these small little rituals of childhood – are the ones that are really hard to cope with.