Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Gift Giving, Christmas And Autism

Welcome to another special edition of The Cherry On Top.

If you are a new arrival, we've got two boys with Autism at very different spectrums.  It has certainly been a learning experience for us as for with anyone who is living with Autism.  In Cherry style, we like to offer our experiences as means to enlighten others or show people that they are not alone with the struggle.

We'd like to share some tips on gift giving for Autistic recipients as we've found useful as well as let you know how it could be this busy, magical and festive time of year.  Perhaps you are attending a party and or are bring gifts, too.

If you know the child or person very well.  Then you probably know exactly what they will like or what their interests are.  Just get yourself ready for any kind of reaction.  Even one that may not be so positive.  My youngest may drop the gift and shout that he hates it only three days later, he will call it his favourite.  Some kids need time with their gift.  Especially, if it's totally new to them.  They will need to look at it, study it, smell it maybe even taste it and perhaps, trust it.

Try your best not to be offended.  Smile with understanding and encouragement and just give it time. 'Tis the season after all, right?  Try not to take it personally and certainly do not push the gift on the recipient.

I would highly recommend, asking the parent or even the person, what they would like.  Especially, if you can't handle a possible back lash.  Hehehe...  Our family made the arrangement that we'd buy all of the gifts and they would reimburse us.  Not everyone is keen on an idea like that and personally, I 
can understand that, too.  I like the thought of our kids being introduced to new stuff knowing full well how it "could" be.  It's all needed experiences and the chance to try to get the boys to understand that it's not acceptable to react in this way, to a lot of people.

I made this Advent Calendar this year for the boys.  It was largely a success.  However, I put tiny cookies in the boxes everyday in-between the other goodies, you see above, so they wouldn't receive a toy or candy everyday and my youngest had a complete, ugly meltdown after days of receiving these little cookies.  Hehehe....  Just a tip for you.  The candy was all great, but those darn cookies every couple of days ruined it.  Now, don't jump to the conclusion about spoiling and that he should just learn to "deal".  I wanted this to be a very fun and positive thing.  I wanted it to be fun everyday and it wasn't.  Lesson learned.

Remember, this time of year can be very hectic and of course, every year is different.  I know I feel the stress of the season.  Sometimes more stressful than joyful.  So I can only imagine how difficult it must be for the boys.  Keep that in mind if you see behaviour that you find unfitting or annoying and try to understand just how hard it is.  I often think my boys have hundreds of tabs opened in their brain and it's tough to focus on the main page. If you see clapping, jumping, screaming or other types of behaviour, know it's just a coping mechanism.  Disapproving looks and opinions are not at all helpful.

We truly hope that the season will bring the gifts of peace, understanding, tolerance, acceptation and unconditional love to all. One can dream and we can all be the example. 

Thank you for joing us.

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