What Parents Of Children With Autism Want Their Family And Friends To Know At Christmas

What Parents Of Children With Autism Want Their Family And Friends To Know

At this time of year we love getting together with friends and family. It’s lovely to see or chat on the phone to those we don’t get to see often.

But undeniably amongst the happiness there. Are also stresses. Things we worry about and things our children worry about more than most.

This is what we would love you to know:

We are not intentionally flaky.

We really do want to see you, sometimes though things get too much, for us and for them. Please don’t think we are being rude if we cancel last minute. We value you more than words can say (or we wouldn’t have agreed to come in the beginning) and would love you to invite us again.

Please do ask us what our children would like for Christmas.

We may not know the answer, but we will be able to tell you what to avoid so that the gift brings them joy rather than distress.

Don’t be offended if our children refuse to talk to you on the phone (or even in person).

Social communication is hard, especially if you can’t pick up non visual clues from the person you are talking to. It doesn’t mean that they don’t love you.

Expect unconditional honesty.

If you ask our children whether you look nice in your dress, they will tell you truthfully. If you would rather not know it’s probably best not to ask.

Remember that our children find change difficult.

If we are coming to meet with you it would be great to know how you see the day running, that way we can prepare them in advance.

Please don’t be offended if we need to leave early.

Sometimes we can see a meltdown brewing long before anyone else can. Leaving early can mean that we go on a positive note, which makes it much easier for us to return again soon.

This time of year is often extremely stressful for our children (and therefore by default for us).

There are lights, there are noises, there are trees inside our houses! Change and sensory overload abound. Please understand if we don’t return your call straight away, sometimes keeping our head above water is all we can manage.

Please do not be upset if our child’s reaction to your gift, or indeed your arrival, is not immediately positive.

Sometimes it takes them time to process things. It may not be that they they dislike the gift, instead it could be that they are worried about how it will look in their bedroom or where they will keep it.

Do not be offended if our child retreats to their room mid way through your visit.

It almost certainly isn’t personal, sometimes just the hustle and bustle of too many people in the same room at the same time is just too much.

Lastly, but perhaps most importantly please do not feel sorry for us.

We will have a wonderful Christmas. It may well be different to yours, but it will be ours. A Christmas built around our children that we can all enjoy.

What Next?

If you do want to learn more you might find our autism section a useful place to start. It’s full of different strategies to try out.

Our online autism courses are also a great place to learn more.

Or why not join our private Facebook Group, which brings parents and teachers of children on the spectrum together to discuss strategies to help at home and at school.

If you join our tribe at the bottom of the post, you’ll receive a weekly email containing autism strategies and resources straight to your inbox.

And of course if I can be of any help then please just shout (or drop me an email).


9 thoughts on “What Parents Of Children With Autism Want Their Family And Friends To Know At Christmas

  1. Ahh bugger! Wish I had seen this at beginning of December as I could have shared with everyone I know!! I am gonna set a reminder for this year!! One I don’t agree with is about asking me what Joseph wants. I get SICK of people asking. I don’t know what to get him so don’t think I have ideas for everyone else!!


    1. Bless you, we have a similar problem here. The Bear hates presents that are large though, so at least when they ask I can tell them what to avoid. Thinking of presents is always a struggle x

  2. Hi Victoria – another one for us is – dont be offended if our child doesnt join us at the dinner table. We are cool with him sitting in the other room watching his iPad & we can enjoy our dinner. He is still enjoying himself & so are we!!!

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