Asperger’s and Holidays

By Shannon Penrod

The other day I watched Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer with my son.  This is a holiday tradition that I have loved since it came out in the mid sixties and I was thrilled that this year my son actually wanted to watch it.  This year he noticed something he never had before.  “Why does everyone want Rudolph to be like everyone else?” he asked me.  It’s a great question. 

“Because people get used to something being a certain way, and when it isn’t that way it makes them nervous.”  To which he replied, “They have Autism too?”  It reminded me that rigidity is a two way street.  I ask my child on a regular basis to work on his rigidity issues, but do I work on my own?  Even my tradition of watching Rudolph is a little bit of a rigidity issue.  It isn’t Christmas for me if I don’t get to watch it after the tree is up.

I started thinking about all the expectations I have around the holidays.  I have ideas about how I want it to go, how it ought to go, how it ideally should go.  This is never how it really goes.  Having a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder has taught me a lot about letting of loaded expectations.  Oh, I still have expectations, but they have changed, in order to be less rigid, so I can meet him at least halfway.

This week on Everyday Autism Miracles we’re going to talk frankly about the reality of holidays with Asperger’s Syndrome.  Joining us will be several of our interns, all college students with Autism Spectrum Disorders.  We’ll talk about what the holidays are like for them, what they think are great gifts and how to stow your rigidity issues so you can enjoy your child and the holidays.  Join us and join the conversation on Friday at 2pm EST, 11am PST on Toginet Radio.


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