Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Christmas - #atozchallenge

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.


  1. Hi Bookworm - it sounds as though Bil is in completely the right place and is as happy as he can be ... letting him do what he wants is so wise. Love it that he knows gift cards are the thing! Thoughtful chap too - with your birds ... cheers Hilary


  2. This is really a great insight. It seems like you never see or hear from the children on the Spectrum as they grow up, with the exception of a few (you mentioned Temple Grandin).

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  3. This was such a sweet post. Bil sounds very thoughtful, and smart if he likes gift cards (this is one of my favorite gifts as well). Sounds like you are a great fit of a family for him!
    Blog hopping A to Z! Thanks for the visit yesterday!

  4. I can't imagine what it's like to experience the life of an autistic child/adult. I reckon it has it's challenges at various stages but it sounds like everyone in Bill's life gives him support and space to be who he is. I found it interesting to learn how thoughtful a person with autism can be. I didn't know this about them. I appreciated the insight you're giving me (and the world-wide web) on this subject. Thank you for visiting my A2Z letter "C" post. Have a good day!


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