Mattie did SO well this Halloween, thanks to his on going ABA training, and his PECS “Trick or Treat” card his teacher made him. We went to about 15 houses with my twin Godsons (one of which is also Special Needs), and everyone was in a great mood and VERY well behaved!! Remind me to bring that card again next year, because that was the key. Not only did Mattie use it PECS appropriately,meaning he handed it to each person opening the door, and then pointed to each word as he has been taught, but now my neighbors are more aware of Autism and it’s impact on not just one child, but the entire community! Win, Win, for everyone this year!! (Oh, and I scored a few Reese Cups as well!!)
So here we go again. Halloween is this Saturday, and having a child with Autism, this holiday can be tricky and not always a treat.
First, there is the costume ordeal. My Mattie has never been a Disney Fan, so that rules out 75% of all child costumes. And I NEVER do gory. GEE, wonder why?? Hmmm…..,I bet it wouldn’t be a good idea to teach a child that takes EVERYTHING literally, that it is OK to pretend to be hurt or play with a knife or that blood is funny. So, what are we left with? He loves Dora, but I am NOT dressing my ten year old son like a girl, or her monkey sidekick, for that matter. And any show on PBS- and he likes them as well-is too young for him to dress up as. That leaves us to be an Army guy-like his Dad-for the 5th year in a row. No ammo, or weaponry of any sort, of course, just comfy fatigues and hat, and a bag for his goodies.
Our second Halloween obstacle to overcome is the actual Trick or Treating. This in our case, requires some preparation, and help from our neighbors. 3 years ago, Trick or Treating was disastrous for us. Mattie would not go to anyone’s door, and the few houses he did go up to he tried to go in their houses, and stay a while. Thank God, my neighbors know and love him, or this could have been REALLY bad. The following year, I tried something new. The day before Halloween, we first called then visited,the few neighbors I knew would be willing to help us. A ding dong trial run, you might say. It was a full dress rehearsal and all went well that night and on the actual holiday. And then there was last year. I felt no trial run was needed, as things had gone so smoothly the year before, so we got Mattie into his Army costume after an early dinner, and did a quick run to my mother in laws so she could see how cute he was. On the way home, in the car, Mattie fell asleep-and slept right through trick or treating.
And here we are again. Army costume , again. Our favorite neighbors have already been asking me if we will be coming for candy at their houses this year. I hope so, is my reply. Mattie’s teacher has provided us with some PECS (pictures with words) prompts to help us along. And Dad is ready to walk the neighborhood with his favorite junior officer again this year. We hope. Stay tuned. I’ll let you know how it goes. Or doesn’t.