Sunday, 17 November 2013

Birthday Anxiety

Our eldest son who is the 'neurotypical' one of our 3 children turns 9 this week. Unfortunately his birthday causes stress to our 2 ASD children which is upsetting for all three of them, as well as to us as parents. We have always envisaged our children's birthdays being happy occasions and not days where careful planning has to be done to reduce the number of tears and tantrums.

Both of our ASD children do not like their normal daily routine being changed, so birthdays even their own present problems.

Our youngest son has the additional difficulty that he does not like presents being wrapped up due to the unknown quantity of them. During the past year we have made the discovery that if we do not wrap his presents up, he is more likely to play with new toys and will be less distressed by the occasion. To avoid him being anxious last year by the sight of wrapped presents our eldest son got us up at 5am to watch him open his presents whilst his brother was still asleep. Unfortunately our youngest son woke up as our eldest son opened up his present from us and came downstairs and broke it. This was not a good start to his birthday celebrations. To ensure there is not a repeat performance this week our eldest son at his request has already received our main present. 

We are going to go out for dinner to celebrate our son's birthday and are not expecting it to go smoothly but we have to persist with family outings to help our ASD children get used to these situations. There will be tears and tantrums and to make up for this, our eldest son who is a massive Dr Who fan is going to watch the 50th anniversary episode in 3D at the cinema with just his Dad next weekend. We know he will get no peace at home watching it, as his siblings will shout all the way through it, as it is not their choice of programme. This way he can do something just for him and have the reassurance that it won't be spoilt by his siblings having a meltdown.
Once we get through this week, we then have to contend with Christmas, which is another story!!

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