Many Hats Mommy

Finding Grace & Choosing Gratitude

Valentine’s Day, Autism Style

10 Comments

I know you’re out there. You have a child with autism or some other special need, and you’re wishing you could skip Valentine’s Day. For whatever reason–watching your child get left out, the hyperactivity, the extra work, not hearing “I love you” from a nonverbal child.

I send you a virtual hug and chocolate.

Dr. J LOVES Valentine’s Day. He loves making the cards and giving gifts. He’d probably do it all day if I let him.

I confess. I hate the mess and the OCD behavior that comes with today. I’m really not a fan of the crashing and running as an expression of excitement.

But, I know that my son loves the day. So, I’m going to do my best to buck up and give him a fun day. Even if I have to drink three cups of hot chocolate and empty a can of whipped cream to get through it.

And it really is sweet to watch him give of his heart to show his love for his family and friends.

Before we go, here are a few things I love:

Annie Eskeldson’s book Ashi’s Birthday and Other Dreaded Days–helps folks understand what holidays throughout the year are like for kids with autism.

Bobbi Sheahan’s book What I Wish I’d Known about Raising a Child with Autism–fantastic read for those who are new to autism. You’re not alone!

Enjoy Life Double Chocolate Crunchy Cookies–yes, even though you have a food allergy, you can still enjoy a fabulous cookie!

Future Horizons–yes, I review for them, but I LOVE their materials! Their books are informative and practical. They publish for Temple Grandin, what more could you want? You can use my referral code HATS and get 15% off any order no matter what size, and free shipping if you’re in the continental US. That discount applies to conferences, too!

I also love Wit & Wisdom from the Parents of Special Needs Kids: Mostly True Stories of Life on the Spectrum. Yes, I have a story in there, but that’s not the only reason I love it. It’s like a support group in your book bag!

And just in case you want something else to celebrate, today is the day the Ferris Wheel was invented. Happy Ferris Wheel Day!

Now it’s your turn? What are you doing to help your child enjoy the day, whether it’s give him a quiet day or make her favorite cake?

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10 thoughts on “Valentine’s Day, Autism Style

  1. today is a day like any other day… that’s how my sons like it best :)

  2. Great suggestions! Thanks so much – and who knew about the Ferris Wheel? That’s cool too!

  3. Do you want me to give you the aspie rant of the history of Valentines day and all that implies? Then I can add how it’s just a day about Hallmark making money…BUT in my heart..I still love the day. I remember years ago standing outside the window of John’s therapy room staring at him and wondering how on earth we got into this mess…why couldn’t my son be at school having a party like other kids. I stood there crying on my red teeshirt and vowing to never be that low again. That’s when I started the list about ideas of things to do on Valentines day for others….you know the rule.. the best way to lighten your burden is to set it down and lift up the needs of others. So if it was not raining and I could get out and walk, I would take bread and cookies out today…but I can’t. Still I can call a few people and send a meal to a couple in need. Hugs and happy Valentines to you…

  4. I am glad Josh wants to show love and friendship to others. There is no price for patience or toil in instilling that. Be thankful. Not all children grasp that whether they are Aspie’s or brains, or in between. I am thankful for the love and concern he shows to me.

  5. our problem is that we don’t celebrate Valentines’ day as Orthodox Jews. But our kiddos are in public school. So “Wilma” comes home with non kosher candy in her backpack and I have to toss it. Then she wanders around for two hours wishing me a happy Valentine’s day which is as silly as if your non Jewish kid walked around wishing you a happy Channukah. We just simply don’t celebrate it. But school does. Oh well, the cards were cute.

  6. Whoa!! Awesome article!! Great big thanks to you Jenny Herman – will you be MY Valentine??

  7. As an Aspie myself, I loathe the day because it feels arbitrary. Plus, I’m from MI, where we also have Sweetest Day in October, which is the exact same thing (except that it feels even more arbitrary). I like the Ashi book – it looks very compassionate.

  8. I sent my son to school with a bag of Valentines that he used his name stamp to ‘sign.’ I also sent in red Gatorade and a few straws. All of kindergarten has floats with ice cream (which is too cold for him to eat) and Strawberry Faygo (won’t drink pop, either!), in cute cups with fancy straws (that aren’t normal sized straws, so….you know!). After he was out the door with grandma to take him to school, I sat down with a cup of tea and moped.

    I let my other two have their own little “party” during our homeschooled day and at 2:30 we left to go pick up M. I admittedly had a heavy heart, but when we got back home and I opened the backpack I found the craft they did during their party: a heart shape with a drawing on the top half and lines to write what they love on the bottom half. M’s aide told him to draw something he loves, and then she asked him to use his AAC device to tell her what he wanted written. Across the top, she dictated “I love you my mommy.” She told me the next day that he was intentional with his AAC device, which in itself is huge becuase usually he goes straight to vehicles or library books or the keyboard with his device–no matter what the question is (I often get “steam engines” as an answer to “What do you want for a snack?”)! My little man is almost 7, and this is the first Valentines Day that ended with happy tears, not more moping!

    I totally sympathize with you on wanting to hear “I love you” from a non-verbal child. The very first time we sat down and started to discuss programming his AAC device-to-be, the OT asked me what phrases or sentences I wanted included. I told her that I just wanted to hear I love you from my son, was that really too much to ask? His first device had three buttons: I need help, I’m mad, and I love you.

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