Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trick-or-Treating and Signs of Progress

Sometimes, an event gives me a glimpse into the progress our family is making. Halloween is one of those events. My princess who is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder has not always anticipated and enjoyed the candy holiday. Today, she was so excited that she set up trick-or-treating stations in the house and pretended. I love that! And she, like the sibs, didn't want to be late to begin when the trick-or-treating hour arrived.

Tonight, I marvelled at how she moved in tandem with her siblings now, co-regulating and coordinating with them without consciously thinking about it. Each house was a little different -- sometimes the homeowner talked to them, sometimes not. I saw flexibility and engagement with the night that a child does not get from rote memorization. She no longer thinks this candy holiday is about performing a memorized routine so that she can be "all done". She no longer bolts ahead of us (which required a helper to tag along and help us hold on to her in past nights). She is as enthralled about the fun night as any other kid.

She was the unofficial coordinator of the evening, counting to three at several houses so she and her siblings could yell "Trick-or-Treat!" together. She was engaged in the night and the people -- I enjoyed watching her as she looked with interest at what she was given as it went into her bag and told the candy-giver an enthusiastic, "thank you!" each time.

She referenced her dad and me and her sibs, too, as we navigated the houses, some of them dark, not participating in our neighborhood fun.

Her brother is coming down with something, and I tried to talk him into heading home after just one street. His sister offered some creative problem solving, telling him that he and I could return home and pass out candy while he rested and Dad could stay out with the girls. ;) She was nowhere NEAR ready to be "done" after just one street! And she came in and dumped her candy like her sibs do -- thank goodness she understands that she can't eat most of it, and she's happy with the candy that she can have on her special diet. (Our sweet next door neighbors gave the kids a halloween cup and a pack of pencils -- the non-food items are really special for a child with allergies!)
Hope your bunch got lots of candy tonight!
PS: I suppose we'll be hearing Christmas music next week -- one of our local radio stations usually begins playing holiday music full time after halloween.

3 comments:

My name is Erin. said...

This post made me teary eyed. We had a great Halloween, too. As much as some days I wish I could make her "typical" I am so thankful for the wonder that having a child on the spectrum adds to the holidays. Would I stop and pay such close attention to all the little miracles if she was typical? Or would I let it go rushing by like I always did before. Now it seems we are forced to slow down and absorb it all. What a blessing!

Penny said...

Erin, I agree. The little miracles are happening all over the place, and I'd have never known to stop and pay attention to them had it not been for autism. :)

The Glasers said...

Love the trick or treat story and the progress the princess has made this year. I need to blog mine . . .

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