This time of year is so hard for us, I’m sure many folk with ASD are struggling also (please don’t say it is just us). The seasons have changed, the weather is getting much colder (making it harder to sleep at night), daylight savings has messed around our body clocks, spring and high pollen counts play havoc with sinuses and EVERYWHERE is Christmas – decorations, music, talk, advertising, just so much Christmas.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas and so do my girls, but the excitement can get very overwhelming, especially when your senses all go into hyper alert mode due to over-stimulation.
I’ve been picking Heidi up early from school because she is already just not coping and remembering my pregnancy with her, where from about mid November she would just stop moving and I spent hours in the hospital hooked up to monitors to check her heartbeat. In the quiet calm of the hospital room where I sat alone with toddler Annie in her stroller, the movements would start up again, much to everyone’s relief. Foreshadowing perhaps our ongoing issues with the silly season.
But there is so much to be grateful for:
- Those times when Heidi stopped moving in the womb, it was just her reaction to the over-stimulation outside and not something more serious.
- That Heidi no longer tries to eat the Christmas tree lights and we were able to get them up on the tree again last year after several years of no lights.
- Online shopping means I can do the vast majority of my Christmas shopping and my grocery shopping without having to expose the girls or myself to the craziness that is shops in full seasonal swing.
- Seriously Coles Online and Aussie Farmers Direct save my sanity at this time of year.
- We have a teacher who understands the need for shorter days, other factors that are contributing to Heidi’s anxiety are being dealt with and my concerns have been heard.
- Friends who offer to help, bless each and every one of the amazing people who have stepped forward to pick up the pieces as the girls and then me start to fall apart.
- Heidi can communicate more of what is worrying her, what she needs and even sometimes that she is getting overwhelmed and needs to leave.
- That after years of being ASD parents we are learning to read the signs better, know the early warning signals and the meltdown triggers.
So much to be thankful for when you just stop to look at it.