The Christmas season is here ! So is the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping, crowded stores, Christmas lights, love and caring for our fellow human beings. Well we love Christmas here at the tiny house on the spectrum but along with anything with so much stimulation attached to it we can struggle. Some autism families have come to dred the holiday season because it is associated with such high anxiety. With so much autism awareness a lot of us are aware of the struggle. In fact a lot of people understand how challenging it can be to take any kiddo shopping during the holidays, they absolutely get the idea taking a kiddo on the spectrum shopping is that experience times a zillion . With that said even though countless people have told me they really want to help, they just don’t know what to do. Well folks I’m here to tell you ! So if you see us, or any other family with a child in the community and we are struggling here’s do’s the don’ts
What not to do:
Think that you have to be a professional with 25 years experience to help.
Engage with my child ( hes already overstimulated)
Offer me advice (Although I know your intentions are good , I’m not currently working for the mother of the year award, I’m just trying to get what need and get out of the store)
Roll your eyes, suck your teeth, stare or imply your negative feelings to myself or my child. Really its five minutes of your life, please keep your opinions in check, because my kiddo will notice and perseverate on your reaction making this trip and the next trip out and probably the rest of our day even more difficult.
Try to have a conversation with me about your third cousins nephew who has autism, though I appreciate the sentiment and I would love to connect and have that conversation with you, I’m really just trying to get what I need and get out of the store while we still can.
What you can do :
Open a door so I can wrestle my overwhelmed kiddo out it.
Let us by, I’m really not trying to be rude, again I’m just trying to get what we need and get out.
A reassuring smile. There has been times when I just thought “this is it ! This is the moment I will actually loose my mind”. Then someone shot me a reassuring smile and it gave me just enough will power to get through it.
Let us butt in line. Waiting inline is the hardest part for us, there is candy bars and toys and noise and people in very close proximity to us, all a recipe for disaster.
Offer to help with a cart. Its hard to push a cart through a busy parking lot while trying to keep a kiddo in full meltdown mode safe.
Offer to help with putting bags in the trunk. Trust me, I fought hard to get those items .
Offer to put the cart away.
I know none of these things are fair, I would never ask you to do any of these things for me nor would most parents of autistic children but people have done all of these things for me and my son and they made all the difference in the world for us, that is where I got this list. I wish I knew the names of every person who has offered 5 minutes of their life to help us through 5 minutes of ours. Its never gone unnoticed even if it seemed to at the time. If you could be a fly on my wall you would see that five minutes was very special to me and I tell everyone what you did. Its people who do things like that, that help me to write posts like this, posts that spread the word that people are still mostly good . Thank you in advance !!
Happy Shopping ! 🙂