Halloween 

We go out with pretty much the same group of people for trick-or-treating every year. Since Frances was old enough to know what Halloween is, she has insisted that we leave the group and that only she and I go from door to door.

This actually makes sense: gross-motor wise, there is the effort of keeping apace with others; emotionally, meltdowns slow her down; socially, she always chooses to be away from others.

This year? It was a little different. She ran — even out-running the older kids — from door to door. She did her best to speak. One little boy — the one she spent the most time beside — was on the spectrum, too, and they really did well alongside each other at the party afterwards. 

The worst that happened this year was that she lost the old, dirty stuffed animal that accompanies her everywhere, and her father took a flashlight and successfully retraced our steps in order to find it.

Before our arrival at the host house, she had had such a huge meltdown that I figured that I would be spending much of my time handling meltdowns while trying to signal “let’s leave” to my husband early on in the evening. That’s what usually happens at any social event.

But not this Halloween. We got through a big social event with just a few meltdowning moments. Her anxiety (for example, as she encountered the imagined possibility of anaphylaxis while watching a guinea pig), was evident but we managed.

Halloween wasn’t as difficult as it usually is, and, for me, that is success. 

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Rules

I don’t know what other ASD parents, or professionals, call the process or behaviour, but Frances almost constantly “verifies rules” or extracts them from both real and imagined scenarios — and this is undertaken very seriously.

She has been doing this since she started speaking, and her language is, as is her pattern, in the form of questions.

The rules usually pertain to danger, and always occur (to the listener) out of context.

One example, from a few days ago:

“Are cows dangerous? Well they are bigger than me, they have a strong kick. So stay away from cows, right?”

Or:

“Never eat anything bigger than you, right? It could be dangerous.”

Personally, I find it very cute, but I know that she has to learn other ways of starting and holding conversations. (She did some work on this difficulty over the summer.)

Recommended books

I just added a page that lists books that I’ve read in which ASD (autism spectrum disorder) or autism is featured, and beside each title I have indicated the perspective from which the narrative is written (e.g., parent, sibling, etc.)