Six foot tall & 22o lbs
In the very near future you will be greated by the smallest of teenage mutant ninja turtles, the prettiest of princess’ and animals galore. You may even be lucky enough to be visited by a superhero knocking on at your door. But what you may not expect is to be bombarded by the big boys…… (or girls) ones you would think knew better who you are sure are just hitting you up for candy….. they often fail to be polite grabbing for the bowl before even saying “trick or treat” and that is if you are lucky. They may be escourted by a parent, an assumed older sibling, or in some cases what appears to be a complete stranger. The often shove their undecorated bag in your direction with a slight mumble or quick movement of the hands. There is just something about it that just doesn’t feel right. They are way too big and seem to old to be partaking in such a childlike activity. Some aren’t even dressed for the occasion. You hesitate wondering is this for real? Do I tell them no? Do I quickly shut the door, or should I just oblige? I mean it is only candly…… But all in all, It just doesn’t make sense…..
But then again, some things just don’t make sense…. They don’t make sense until you’ve experienced them…. Does it make it wrong? Does your lack of knowledge make what you are witnessing first hand wrong? For many of us our first gut reaction is YES!!!!!!….. THESE boys are old enough to get their own candy….. We selfishly think I am not providing candy to teenagers, I will eat the leftovers myself…… We then quickly question what type of parents allow their kids to ask for handouts….. they should be ashamed….
AND…. many of us in the world of special needs felt this way too, until we lived it with our own child; and not a moment sooner. Because you see for many children with disabilities, although they may have the body of a teenager or even that of a grown man, in their mind they are still a child….. Like every good mom, I want my child to experience the joy of the holidays from “Trick or Treating” to decorating Valentine boxes. And although sometimes he doesn’t fully understand the concept, I mean who does understand the concept that we can go to strangers houses one day a year knock on the door and get candy while dressed up as a make believe character or imposter , I still want him to have the experience.
So yes, my child is 14 (almost 15), he is 6 feet tall and he weighs in at about 220 and he will be trick or treating… Why???? Because he still thinks he is five. He thinks his daddy should still be able to carry him to bed every night and tuck him in, that when it rains someone should carry him to the door of the school so he doesn’t get his shoes wet and when he is sick I should be able to rock him……
And no, he will not be wearing a costume. Because of his diagnosis of autism he has specific preferences. He basically has a few sets of clothes he wears everyday…. And a costume isn’t one of them…. Most are constricting, scratchy, and don’t make sense to his ever routined and scheduled life.
Why do I allow this you may wonder? Because as with any teenager, I worry about his social skills, and even more so since he has a disability. What better way to practice those much needed social skills than going door to door…… or in our case trunk to trunk….. So what can you do to help facilitate…..
Do not look at me, my child, family members or caregivers as idiots, as if we are intruding, or like we are there for a handout. We don’t do it for the candy….. Believe me… We buy enough candy on our own…….
Do not expect my child Not to have manners…. We expect him to show the same consideration and respect to you as we do our other what society deems as “normal or typical” children. His having autism is not an excuse for being rude, hateful, or inappropriate…. That doesn’t mean it might not happen, but we don’t excuse it…. Wait politely for the adult with him to correct his behavior and instruct him as to what to do. Even if that means we repeat it many times before it is done correctly or to our satisfaction.
Do not ignore him or act as though he can’t hear. He has autism, he isn’t deaf…. Do not ask me in front of him if he can have candy, if he can have additional pieces or anything else that you don’t want him to hear…. If he is standing there, he will hear you…. he will understand you and he will most likely take advantage of the situation….
Address him like you would other children.. Say hello, give him a high five, or knuckles.
Make eye contact…. With him, with me and his siblings…. Please don’t avoid looking at him or us because you feel sorry for us… We have embraced AUTISM, we have embraced our life…. and we have embraced WILL…. just like he is…. we think he is just how GOD intended for him to be….. and so do his siblings….. Please do not say anything or do anything that would make us feel any different….
Lastly…. don’t only give the children candy….. A teenager and 10 month old twins trick or treating should earn me some candy too….. (preferably CHOCOLATE) by the time I reach your house or trunk, I may even need more than one…..