Tag Archives: Santa Claus

Growing up with Autism

I’ve started to notice my daughter’s Autism progressing more. She’s more sound sensitive, even more scared of the washer, blender, and vacuum cleaner than she was before. The sounds of fireworks terrify her to the point she’s screaming with fright. She’s even more attractive to things with bright, flashing lights, like glow sticks or the light up wands you would find at Halloween or at concession stands at parades or carnivals.

Last night we had our Christmas parade here in Bryant, my hometown. I didn’t take her due to her reaction to the Christmas parade we went to in Benton the night before;  Benton is the town next to us. She showed interest in the floats, decorated with bright Christmas lights, with cheerful people waving and shouting ‘Merry Christmas’. My daughter cheered and waved back at each one as they passed by us. Then she started to push away when the band started coming near us. I calmly walked behind the crowd of people that was around us, but started to dance along with the band’s music, showing her that it was okay.

As soon as the band passed by I put her up on top of my shoulders, where she would sit for majority of the parade. She resumed her clapping, waving, and cheering at the brightly lit floats driving past us, until the motorcycles started to approach us. She started to scream and try to climb down from my shoulders. I cuddled her as best I could, trying to comfort her as she hid her head in my chest, covering her ears and whimpering. I placed my hand over her head, bringing her into my chest and covering her ears as best as I could, telling her all will be okay. The more the motorcycles revved up their engines, the more she stirred and cried.

I continued to stay at the back of the crowd, far from the parade procession. Though as each loud group that passed by us, I would put her back up on my shoulders so she could enjoy the rest of the parade. It was soon coming to an end and it was time for the firetrucks to make their appearance, followed by the fat jolly man on top of the last firetruck. It wasn’t hard to tell they were nearing as each one would blast their sirens, causing it to echo off of the buildings, making it sound louder and louder as the approached. It was our Que to leave.

I didn’t need to stay any longer to see Santa and I knew she could care less if he was approaching or not. It was the loud sirens that had her terrified and her wanting to leave. So leave we did. She loves firetrucks, has several firetruck toys at home. She just doesn’t like the loud sirens that they have.

Children don’t come with handbooks or manuals, nor does Autism. It’s all a learning process. A few years ago I had to learn from these similar reactions that fireworks aren’t something that we’ll be into viewing each fourth of July. Every fourth we’ll go to the carnival, but we return home way before the crowd shows for the fireworks display. I try to distract her with cartoons, puzzles, and games on her kindle as each whistle, pop, and crackle noise is made from the neighbors setting off their own little fireworks.

Parades and fireworks won’t stop us from enjoying ourselves. We might not go off to watch it in person, but that won’t stop us from finding something else to entertain ourselves, such as a Disney movie in the comfort of our own home.

Stay calm and…Santa!!!

Today, Santa visited the daycare where my daughter attends. I spent some time at daycare with her today and got to see first hand how the first few hours of their day goes. WOW! Exhausting! I did have fun though and some of the other kids seem to enjoy me being there. I got to play toys and read a few books to them. Then my daughter and I colored.

One of the ladies from the office came to my daughter’s  class room and said it was time for her class to go meet Santa. I could tell my daughter was excited as she grabbed my hand and was tugging on it, trying to get us out the door quicker. All the kids in her class held hands and walked quietly down the hall; my daughter was holding my hand the whole time.

When we rounded the corner a few teachers were blocking the kids view, so they didn’t see Santa right away. All the kids in my daughter’s class were asked to sit along the wall so that they could wait their turn in line to visit with Santa. Santa was already chatting with one little boy and they were getting their pictures taken.

Finally the teachers moved and the kids saw Santa, including my daughter. She let go of my hand and took off running toward Santa with a huge grin on her face. “Santa!!” she was calling out.

Everyone thought it was cute. She was trying to crawl up into his already occupied lap. The other kids had to be asked to go up there, some kids had a hard time even approaching Santa. Not my child! She was excited and ready to see the jolly man!!

This picture (found on Pinterest) of Will Farrell from Elf reminds me of her just then!


Visiting Santa

Every year the local library here has Santa come for a visit. Parents bring their kids and their cameras for a photo op with Santa. They also have activities at the other end of the library, such as coloring pictures, crafts, and games. I’m not sure how long they’ve been doing this, but this is the first time I took my daughter.

Last year, I had her pictures taken at Walmart with Santa. I sat her down in his lap and he talked calmly to her; she wasn’t quite two … almost. She gave Santa this look, as if to say, “Who the heck are you.” The woman taking the pictures had a hard time getting my daughter to look at the camera as she kept looking Santa up and down. I guess she was trying to figure him out. Santa then brought out a book, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ and started reading it to her. Her face lit up with a huge grin and he was an instant buddy. The photographer had instant success in taking pictures after that. Maybe we should’ve started with the book first.

Today, I had taken my daughter to the library to meet Santa, “again”. We stood in a very short line. I pointed at Santa and whispered to her, “Who is that?” “Claus,” she whispered back. She couldn’t say the Santa part just yet, but she could say Claus … close enough.

We stood there watching two little girls visit with Santa, one of them was smiling, while the other was screaming and crying; she looked to be five years old. I thought, “Oh great, my child is watching this and is probably going to thing Santa is scary.” Then I realized, she’s my child, she laughed at the scary guy trying to scare her at Halloween. He didn’t succeed and he thought that was just awesome!

Finally it was my daughter’s turn to visit with Santa. I brought her over to him and she said to him, “How you doin’?” He replied, “I’m doing just great. Would you like to sit on my lap and tell me what you want for Christmas?” I put her in his lap and she started to smile. He asked her what she wanted for Christmas and she babbled and then said truck, babbled some more and said ball. I was grinning from ear to ear.

The time came for me to snap a picture. She was too busy chatting with Santa, that I couldn’t get her attention to look at me and smile just for one picture. I was able to snap a few, those came out blurry, then finally she looked and waved and I snapped, awesome picture!