It’s almost Halloween, the time of year when kids get to dress up in a costume, have fun, and get candy. The first few years of my son Michael’s life he did not understand anything about this strange tradition. Kids with autism have a hard time with facial expressions and body language. This leads to different ways of relating to people. He was afraid to go out trick or treating. I think he didn’t get the excitement of receiving free candy, as we did not give him any till he was four years old, but that’s another story. I’ll never forget the year he really got Halloween though with decorating the house, carving the pumpkin, and trick or treating. He chose to dress up as a dinosaur (Barney is still a favorite), and he loved the indoor trick or treating at his school. The kids went from class to class getting candy, and he really began to put all the pieces of this holiday together. For the last four years now, he talks excitedly about Halloween. Last year, we walked really far to get candy at Michael’s request, so he could navigate :), and even met a police officer giving out lights to the kids so that they could be seen by cars. It was the highlight of the evening for Michael that he got to meet a real police officer. And for me, the highlight was Michael being a kid enjoying Halloween.
Joanne Giacomini is a fiction writer and a blogger. She blogs about how her son with autism is raising her at www.exceptionalmomchild.wordpress.com.