It’s that time of year again. Trick or treat is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon in my area. While many parents don’t have to give this a second thought, as special needs parents, we have to decide if trick or treat is even worth it.
I say that because, as many of you out there can attest to, trick or treat could also be called overstimulation or meltdown.
This is especially true for Gavin, who’s already struggling with life as it is. As much as he wants to go, he simply can’t handle it. Do we allow him to go, even if it’s going to cause problems for the next few days?
We face this choice every single year. In the past, there were times we let him go and there have been times that we have kept him home. This issue has no real right or wrong to it..if that makes sense.
According to Gavin’s specialists, between the Asperger’s and Schizoaffective disorder, exposing him to any of this is one of the worst things that we could do. In particular, kids with Schizoaffective disorder, decomopensate rapidly when exposed to things like birthday parties, Christmas parties or anything else that is of the high excitement variety. History has proven this to be correct, time and time again.
However, on the other hand, there’s something to be said about letting them be kids.
I have a bigger post in the works about this very issue. It’s something that my family endlessly struggles with.
I’m very interested in hearing your opinions on this matter. How do you handle trick or treat in your family?????
– Lost and Tired
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We've had mixed reactions from our son, who found decorations and costumes to be way too much for him to handle with his anxiety. Last year, we hit three houses before we had a full-on meltdown on the sidewalk and had to drag him home past all the stuff that scared him the first time. He's excited about it this year, but I don't have a lot of faith it will be any better, regardless of how much we and his teachers have prepared him for the day.
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Your totally right. Crap, I hadn't ever thought of that. We are at the end of the road as far as medication goes and destabilizing him further is a very bad idea.
Halloween is a huge problem in this house, mainly due to the holiday becoming more and more gruesome. The excitement is amped up by the schools, the gruesomeness is everywhere (too scary for my son), and people are really unthinking about scaring smaller children. A very bad experience with a neighbour at 3 years old has meant that he refuses to trick or treat at all. The school party features things like a haunted house which is just too much for him. He really wants to participate but he's totally unable to handle the over the top stimulation. What we've done is give him the responsibility of the door – he answers and doles out treats as he feels able. It's not ideal, but he also gets whatever treats are left over (we make sure to buy lots so he feels compensated.) Seems to work, but we'll see how this year goes.
I completely understand! Our son Noah has autism and ocd and when ever we take him trick or treating he is very restless at night and we struggle with melt downs and everything for at least a week! The only problem is is we have three other kids that are neurotypical so we have to take him!
My fear would also be the hallucinations Gavin suffers from would be influenced or made worse by some of the costumes out there…..