Holiday time is dreaded by many families who have a member on the autistic spectrum. If you've joined me for the Blogging from A to Z challenge, you may have this same challenge.
My theme for A to Z is - Journeying Through the Unknown.
I never knew my brother in law Bil when he was really young, to know how he behaved at Christmas time. So
many autistic children find the holidays a difficult, overstimulating
time. Because Bil is in his late 50's, we don't suffer from that problem. But, we don't always know what Bil thinks, because, so many times, he doesn't share his thoughts with us.
When my mother in law still lived in the home where Bil grew up we would exchange gifts, with Bil staring into space and not making eye contact
with anyone. Yet, you knew he was watching....observing.
He didn't seem to care.
But I quickly found out that this only meant that Bil had his own ways to show he wanted to be with us.
Bil picked (and still picks out) gifts with the utmost of care. I don't know how much
help his Mom gives him, but he always tries to base his gift on an
interest the person has. For instance, he know I love birds, so for a few years he gave me bird themed gifts. A singing bird alarm clock (I don't use it as an alarm clock, but, after all this time, it still sings occasionally). A bird jigsaw puzzle. A bird pin.
Bil isn't shy about telling us what he wants. It's mostly gift cards to his favorite stores. He's quickly learned that gift cards allow him the freedom to choose what he wants to buy.
He is happy to be with family, but doesn't want to get involved in any
of activities after dinner. He wants to be
with us, but on his own terms.
So he retreats to a far chair while we open gifts and talk. He becomes an observer, only a participant when it's his turn.
Bil is fortunate, in a way, that he was born into a family that always allowed him to participate in the holidays in the ways that he wanted to.
I hope he, in turn, thinks we are "just right" for him.
"C" Day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.