(Kiddo's First Christmas, 2003)
Some of the top signs you might have an Aspie kid in the family (holiday edition):
1. You know that a label maker will be his prized Christmas gift
2. He really wants Santa to bring him a fax machine and a land line
3. An AC Adapter for one of his gadgets is an ideal stocking stuffer
4. He is furious on Christmas morning because he thinks his dad ate the cookies.
5. He tries to spin every gift he opens
6. He tries to open his presents while covering his ears (because crumpling, ripping paper is too much stimulation for him) at the same time.
7. You do all of your shopping online because malls are sensory overload even at 9am on a weekday in the off-season
8. You get to skip the line to see Santa because your kid is too freaked out or just not interested.
9. Grandma Got Run-over By A Reindeer sends child into hysterics and calls must be made to verify health of all grandmothers
10. You frisk every piece of mail for musical greeting cards to disarm them before your child gets home from school. The risk of losing your last marble are very real as if he likes it he will open it repeatedly-only playing the first 5 notes and then he will close it and open it again and again and again until the battery runs out and then there will be a sizable meltdown and a trip to the market for more batteries and smaller tools and wasn’t the idea to skip stores completely during the holiday rush?
11. Your child’s amazon.com wishlist has a lengthy warning note about all of the above to warn well-meaning relatives so everyone can have a Merry Christmas! You ask for additional quantities of Junior’s favorite toy, for emergencies.
12. There is a good chance you won’t have to pay exorbitant prices on the “must-have” toy of the season, but you will spend weeks searching for a special interest related item that your child doesn’t already have. (my kid has a toilet shaped crumb vacuum from the UK. He has moved on since then but we could probably open a museum dedicated to plumbing themed novelties.
13. You wonder if there is a way to harness the energy expended by hand flapping and stimming. The holidays alone could power a small city.
14. You realize your child who won’t eat anything chewy or soft will eat pretty much anything in candy cane or cookie form. Google “broccoli cookies” and “no red dye all natural fruit flavored high fiber whole grain vitamin minerals protein candy canes” (found organic ones, by the way… beet root coloring!)
15. You plan your holiday baking less around gift-able treats and more around the occupational therapy benefits.
16. You are reminded, in all of the inevitable chaos, that you are luckier than most because you get to experience that Christmas morning thrill all year round as you rediscover the world with your awesome Aspie kid.
(here’s a link to yourlittleprofessor.com’s guide to gifts for kids with Asperger’s- it’s a “getting to know your Aspie” sort of an exercise for those who could use some insight into special interests and gift giving)