An Aspie Halloween

Posted: October 31, 2013 in Community, Family
Tags: , , , , , , ,

hatehalloween

Yay….it’s Halloween. Sorry if I don’t sound super excited about it. I know so many people that love this day, some that live for it. People get to dress up and make believe. They go trick or treating, getting oodles of candy and treats. It’s a day that allows kids to be kids (and quite a few adults to be kids too). When I was young, I loved Halloween. But something happened.

As I previously mentioned, I married an Aspie. I also have a son with autism. And although I cannot speak for the entire autism community, I can speak for my family. I can also say that I’ve observed dozens of other individuals with autism. And almost uniformly, Halloween is a terrible time. It’s confusing for someone not wired the way the world wants them to be to try to navigate the social waters of life at the best of times. Throw in a day when it’s all of a sudden acceptable to dress randomly like characters from a movie, and ask for candy from strangers, and to be congratulated for it….it can be a little overwhelming.

I cannot think of a single Halloween since 1993 that I can say that this is a good day for me. For years I felt guilty, thinking I was letting my family down for not forcing the happiness on them. I have come to realise, over time, that you can’t force them to like it. And I’m okay with that. Yet society often isn’t.

My wife teaches in a class that handles all the school’s autism population. She does so much good for these kids. And they are so good to her. It’s symbiotic. But today, I can imagine she is going through hell. My son is currently going to college to become an educational assistant. By all accounts, he will be awesome. Also today, he is living through his own private hell. I have been with him now for hours, helping him navigate his day. I cannot say how much I appreciate the fact that I am self-employed, and can thus do this.

Adding to this angst is the impending ‘time change’ where we set back our clocks an hour this coming weekend. Neurotypicals like myself have a hard enough time dealing with this. Imagine being like my son and wife, internal clocks getting them up at five every morning, then all of a sudden getting up at four….and needing far more time to adjust than you and I do. To boot, being that they are very intellectual, they not only are aware that this is going to happen, but cannot control it despite their ntelligence, adding to their frustration and anxiety.

I say all this to tell you…please just understand. Please give them space. Please don’t judge when you see these individuals trying to cope with their reality. Remember that their reality is not yours, and they cannot fake it like you do. Above all, please be kind and humane. Help them if you can, if they want the help. Understanding is the best help that you can provide.

Autism and Asperger’s is here to stay, my friends. Embrace all there is about it, because they are our future Einstein’s, our future teachers, or maybe our future Sandwich Artist. I doesn’t matter what they do….it’s who they are. They deserve more than we’ve given them in the past. Be kind, everyone!

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