My son’s first anniversary was a big problem: wizards, balloon makers, paintings, clowns, pets, the whole nine-meter. Therefore, we celebrate each of your birthdays with the same enthusiasm, until our son begins to dictate the way he wants to celebrate his birthday. Autism has changed this plan a bit.
Over time, we realized that he had no idea of his birthday, what are the holidays or what looks have gifts. He never asked for a gift or interest for those he received. It seemed clear from his birthday party, as if he were standing between strangers, with nothing of what was happening.
Then we realized that we do not have to follow the crowd and do what is expected for birthdays. We decided to do what we know for sure that our son would appreciate any day of the week and give him more experience on his special day. So, as a ritual, we booked a night at an indoor water park and miss a day of hiking. He likes.
Even though he took over the anguish of his birthday, we still face other social gatherings – holiday party, other children’s birthdays, Christmas parties, Halloween parties and others still. While we want to be a part of the fun, the pressure to be there with my son Vedant was too much.
He would cry, try to escape, trying to drag in the car, have accidents, to retire to a corner or sometimes too excited and be physically with other guests. Our knee reaction was to stop to go to one of these events. I started making excuses for not attending and soon I was exhausted.
That’s when I decided that hiding was not a solution. If Vedant is to survive in this world, he must learn to cope and he must help him. Over time, my husband and I are unconscious and with a bit of planning, they offer a less stressful way to solve this problem. These are some of the things we do for a “success” day (can mean different things for different people) in a social gathering.
It was the biggest change we made. We know our son does not have the social skills. We had to understand that the move to a party was more of a social experience than a fun exercise. We could not go to a party to wait for our son to sit with other kids and play a board game or run around a tag.
We had to accept that it would be difficult for him to touch so many people and so much noise and that he would work to calm it down. When this expectation has changed, we already knew what we were. We complained less because we knew it was more of a learning experience for our son a disproportionate opportunity for us. It’s tough, but practical.
I wanted to inform the host when we were going to be late and leave early. Staying for a shorter time serves two purposes: First, stress was minimized for all of us, as the duration was short and gave our child the opportunity to be a fun event, but without having submerged. As you get used to situations like these, we can slowly start to stay longer and enjoy more.