The Aspie Holiday–a short story
Once there was a beautiful boy. His name was Michael.
Michael had a little brother and a mother who loved him very much.
December approached. Holidays always roll around at certain times of the year.
This beautiful family received invitations to go to other homes to eat, celebrate, and be social (and stuff like that).
“Thank you so much for the invitation. I wish we could make it, but I’m sorry, we’re busy that day,” said the mother in her sweetest, most melodic voice ever.
The two boys and the mother did not visit other people.
They had a wonderful day eating cereal with milk, noodles, pretzels, and apples. They played games. Just the three of them. In their own comfy home. It was their favorite way to celebrate the holidays. It was safe, kind, easy, and there were not many tears or difficulties.
How True It Is!
This story is funny because IT’S SO TRUE!
If you want us to come to your house to celebrate with you, you have to be nice. You’ll have to accept that my son is not going to eat the food you cook. You’ll have to make peace with the fact that he’d rather tell you about the latest insanity from Donald Trump than tell you how school’s going.
You want him to sit down and play a board game with the other kids? Pffffft
ASD Bill of Rights: The Holiday Agreement
It’s absolutely no fun going to other people’s homes for the holidays unless they are all “I accept you and your ENTIRE family just as you are. Please let me know how I can help you have a successful visit.”
Following you’ll find a contract for family members (a kin agreement) who might need additional understanding.
I commit to the following rules, regulations, and requests for a holiday visit. This agreement applies if you have a child diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (even though “Disorder” makes no sense when describing your child).
What I WON’T do:
- I won’t judge you to your face. I’ll definitely wait until you go home or at least hold off until you’re in the other room, where I don’t think you can hear me or see me.
- I will not actively try to teach your child how to do something I believe they clearly should know how to do by this point. I will postpone my belief that I think you suck as a parent and you should be able to make them behave better. On this beautiful holiday I will not try to “help” you parent.
- I will not force your child to eat the food I prepare and I’ll not show how offended I am when you bring your own food.
- I will not roll my eyes when your child sits in the dining room looking out the window at the other kids playing football in the front yard, even when they ask to play their iPad and start to have a tantrum if you say no.
What I WILL do:
- I will be nice to you while you are here at my home. I can imagine how difficult these visits are for you and your family.
- I will share my pretzels and yogurt with your child and be happy to set a place for them with just those two items.
- I will sit down with your child for at least ten minutes and listen to the things they are interested in. I will ask appropriate questions and genuinely try to connect with them.
- I will ask for your help when I don’t know how to help. I will have a quiet area prepared for you that you can go to.
- I will pinch anyone (hard) who says anything unkind and I will have a discussion with __________________ beforehand to make sure you have a pleasant experience.
- I will call you later if you have to leave quickly and don’t have time to say good-bye.
All of us need acceptance and love, especially those of us who have different brains. And definitely those of us who raise them.
You might wonder why we “cancel” or make other holiday arrangements. Sometimes it’s because we just don’t want to go through it again.
Thank you for joining me and reading this story.
I’m wishing each and every one of you a beautiful Happy Holiday!
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