It has been quite a while since my last post. That’s because new behaviors and lack of sleep has kept me pretty busy, or at least really effing irritable. It happens right?
This time of year gets difficult for my family, because people invite us to holiday gatherings. Quite frankly I appreciate the invites when I still get them, it’s showing me people still care about us. But the truth is, the last thing I want to be apart of is my sons meltdown situation in the center of someone’s special event. SuperKeegan has changed a bit, meaning he is now obsessive which makes a difficult life more strenuous. Especially since he is non verbal, so when gets pissed he can’t even tell me what the deal is. He just to work through it, kicking and screaming, until he is exhausted and needs a hug. And although people try to understand, it’s impossible for a person without a special needs child to “get it.” So we go through life being apart of the celebration when we can, praying the time we do participate we aren’t asked to gather our child and what’s left of our dignity and slink out the door hoping no one will notice us.
So you want to help you family during the holidays? Here’s a few things that I always find helpful in our holiday insanity…
1. Allowed to invite, be ok when the answer is NO- even though you really miss your sister, or cousin, whoever it is, keep in mind deep down they want to be there. So just be kind and caring when they respectfully decline. You have stated that you adore the special needs family member a hundred times but keep in mind the little meltdowns you may have witnessed are extremely mild, no one but immediate family ever witnessed an “end all” level meltdown and they may want to save your party by appreciating your thought from a distance.
2. If they ask for a detailed guest list, don’t judge and give the run down- parents of special needs children often worry not about the people attending, but the AMOUNT of people. Keegan loves going to Nana’s house, but if it’s stuffed with 30 people and he has a meltdown, it may get dangerous. So they aren’t being jerks asking who will be there, just causious.
3. If they plan on coming, prepare for the worst- Yay they are coming! Should I do anything? HELL YES. Even though it isn’t necessary to announce the “Autism family” is on the way, do prepare in your mind a nice little something for just in case scenarios. This way if a meltdown occurs and they need to restrain their very upset child, just notice if anyone is staring, or totally disgusted. This would be a good time to sashay over calmly to said person and say something like, ” I know this may be difficult for you but their child has autism and he/ she is just having a difficult time right now. Would you like to come into the kitchen? I will get you a drink.” The person needing to restrain their own child at a party will forever be grateful for this calm step in.
4. Don’t ever stop asking- Even though typically if you ask a friend and they ALWAYS say no, eventually you stop asking. But if that friend has a special needs child please do me the favor of never giving up. There is a very good chance they say no for the rest of their child’s adult life, because being a special needs parent doesn’t stop at 18. The friend will appreciate being asked, because you are still considering them family and that means a lot to us.
5. Lastly tell us when and why we aren’t invited- Even though it sounds harsh, I always appreciate a friend telling me that we aren’t invited. There are always times when people don’t want to deal with possible situations, so if you nicely tell us there is something special we may be bummed but we will still appreciate the honesty.
This post came after my son and I missed my brother in laws birthday on thanksgiving eve because every time we needed to get in the car, SuperKeegan had a severe screaming fit and would end up with us in full restraint where ever we were. Sadly after the third restraint I gave up. But the next morning when I texted “happy thanksgiving, sorry I missed you again,” the response I received was, “no worries I understand and happy thanksgiving.”
We have lots to be grateful for ❤️