On one hand, I love it. I love fall and everything that comes with it. The leaves turning brilliant shades of red, orange, gold and brown. The cool, crisp air. Pumpkins. Crunchy apples. And best of all? My son's birthday.
Derek was my Halloween baby. When he was born, I was thrilled. I thought that as he grew up, he'd LOVE having a Halloween birthday because he'd get to dress up at school and have parties on his special day.
|Halloween 2010--Derek refusing to wear the hat. This was the last time I got him to wear a costume.|
But I never expected Derek to be autistic.
I see people post pictures of their children in adorable costumes and I can't help but be jealous.
Derek hates costumes. He can't stand wearing them. Make-up or a mask on his face is out of the question. So is a hat. Each year has gotten progressively worse. Last year, he refused to wear even a fireman's jacket made of fleece. So my son went trick-or-treating as...you guessed it...Derek.
Derek doesn't understand the concept of trick-or-treating either. He tries to go into people's houses. And he doesn't like the candy. He usually lasts about for about 10 minutes, much to the dismay of my other son--who LOVES Halloween.
As a parent of a child who has a hard time with Halloween, here is a little advice for all of you who DON'T have children on the spectrum:
If a child doesn't say trick-or-treat or thank you when you give them candy, cut them some slack. Maybe the child is nonverbal. (Derek never said a word last year. I spoke for him.)
If a child searches through the bowl of candy, don't automatically assume he/she is being rude. My son can't tolerate certain textures and will only eat smarties and suckers. He doesn't know that it's rude to search through a bowl.
If a child tries to enter your house, don't freak out. Especially if the parent is doing everything they can to control their child and is apologizing profusely.
I know many of you are probably asking yourselves why I bother taking my son trick-or-treating at all. Honestly? I don't know. Because it's his BIRTHDAY and I don't want to deprive him of thngs other kids get to do. I also do it for his brother. Tyler shouldn't miss out on things just because he has an autistic brother. I also have hope that one day Derek will WANT to dress up.
But this year? I'm letting go of all expectations. If Derek doesn't want to wear a costume, I won't make him. He can go as himself.
Because let's face it-- Derek is pretty awesome. MUCH cooler than Batman or Spiderman or Luke Skywalker or any other person he could dress up as. My son IS a superhero...