Flying with my son Tyler, who has fairly profound autism, has always ranked in my list of fears second only to nuclear war. And a pretty close second, at that. Although he has made excellent progress in behavior in recent years, I still harbor Autism PTSD-like symptoms caused by experiencing years of public tantrums. Our usual strategy has been to always have a ‘way out’ for public outings in case he needs a break or can’t stay. This has included things like having a respite worker drive separately with us and take him home early if needed; paying for our meal ahead of time and getting ‘to go’ containers for our food in case we need to suddenly bolt; and definitely driving on long car trips instead of flying. I must point out that this is just as much for his benefit as for the rest of our benefit. If he is acting out, something is REALLY bothering him and I am not going to make him remain there.
So a few weeks ago I came up with a fairly brilliant idea, I thought at the time, for an entry to the blog. I would poll the special needs community for tips on surviving whatever holidays they celebrate. Then I would sit back and reap everyone’s abundant knowledge for both the good of the blog, and for my own selfish purposes, because our holidays are sometimes sheer hell. Here was my cheerful request: “I am gathering info for a special needs blog article I am writing. Any info/suggestions on what you do to survive or *GASP!!!* ENJOY, family/holiday get-togethers would be appreciated, even a sentence or two. Would like perspective from a variety of traditions, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, anything. How does your church/mosque/synagogue help you out? What could they do better? Ditto your family and friends. Tia.”