The Day after Christmas for ASD Boys

All the build up, all the present buying, the parties (if you like that sort of thing!) all for the biggest 24 hours of the year, and now its all over. Having two ASD boys really adds to Christmas. They are bombarded with non-stop imagery that befuddles their senses. The build up itself is a non-stop whirlwind for them that its little surprise Matthew turned down the opportunity of a couple of Christmas parties as he “wanted a break.” But the days itself is just sensory overload for them. The morning on Christmas day is a welter of presents to open. Rather than get them one expensive gift such as an Xbox, we tend to get them lots of smaller things. As a result, there is so much to open, so much to look at. Add the excitement of the rest of us and they are easily over excited that its impossible for them to look at everything. Of course, they want to do everything immediately. It can’t be done of course, and they get easily frustrated by it all.

Thankfully we had Doctor Who last night that slowed down the frantic pace of the day that had been. Matthew and Daniel were obviously physically and mentally overwhelmed. Daniel was red-faced and worn out. The sure sign they’re too tired is that the niggles start immediately. Daniel in particular will have a mini meltdown. On cue, it kicked off, but he was just too tired to put his heart into it. Jane calmed him down, and I talked him into getting into bed so we could have a cuddle – Daniel loves physical contact – and talk about the day that had been. He was chatty for a while, but eventually he gave in, and was off to the lad of nod.

Christmas day for the majority of children lucky enough to be in a household where presents are the norm is tough enough. But for children on the autism spectrum, it is a minefield. They just can’t cope with the day itself, and yesterday was no different for our two. Today is much, much calmer. They already have their favourites from yesterday, but crucially they recognise Christmas is past and things are settling back to normal. There’s been a mix of Daniel’s Lego Indiana Jones (great Christmas present!) and back to playing games on his iPad. Matthew has been captivated by a mechanical solar system model we gave him (he’s absolutely loved the school project on space this year), so that’s still been the centre of his attention. All in all, its been a much calmer place in their heads today.

I’m trying to convince Daniel to come to Aberdeen’s game today against Motherwell. Although football is a bit of sensory stimulation for Daniel, the fresh air and change for scene will be good for him. It’ll mean less sniping from Grannies too, which didn’t help yesterday. The ongoing lack of understanding as to how they can be overstimulated doesn’t help keep them calm at Christmas, which is why getting back to some sense of normality is vital for them. For now, we’ll enjoy the new toys and games, and slowly get back to life as we know it!

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