Christmas with an autistic child can be many things, straightforward generally isn’t one of them. For many young auties sensory overload, change to routine, new people, food, decorations can cause unbeatable strain.
My daughter likes to prove just how much of a spectrum autism is. Last year (I’ll admit she was only 1.5 with no diagnosis) Christmas may as well of not happened for her. The tree went up along with lots of pretty decorations which she barely glanced at. On Christmas morning she freaked out because she wanted to watch her programme first thing (it was 40 minutes minimum and was her routine.) Presents were handed to her and instantly tossed aside without even turning her eyes to them. This happens with everything she isn’t interested in still to this day. Christmas dinner was a waste of time for her really. I thought it was scrum my, my first ever Christmas dinner bought, prepared and cooked after having my son on the 21st!
I remember being so disappointed that there was no Christmas magic for her, she just blocked it all out. I was wrong, there is so much magic to be found in the world of an autistic child. I was doing the traditional approach which now seems ridiculous considering my daughter is far from traditional.
Well a year on and I’ve learned a fair few tricks. Christmas started early in our house, well the prep did anyway. Toys and books playing carols and Christmas songs become a firm favourite. Every visitor cracked up at the relentlessness of the little penguin singing ‘have yourself a merry little Christmas’ on repeat as my girl played it over and over again watching intently as he dances from side to side. For me watching her smile as he sings his little song means she is appreciating and taking part in Christmas and stuff everyone else.
Advent saw present prep. A little present for everyday to get the unwrapping underway!
My children never eat sweets or chocolate (apart from in the advent calendar hehe) and I don’t want that too change at Christmas leaving me with sugar addled toddlers climbing the walls then crashing dramatically or worse…throwing it all up.
We have been testing out Christmas recipes for a whole now and here is a selection of the best for both the big day and party ideas.
These are great and so simple, a tin of sweetcorn drained, dried and mixed in a batter then shallow fried. You can add a touch of paprika to the batter, a handful of spring onions to the sweetcorn or anything else that takes your fancy.
Crunchy Turkey Kebabs:
Cubed turkey skewered and rolled in breadcrumbs and Parmesan. Simply spray them with oil and grill rotating so all sides crisp up.
Sticky, crunchy parsnips:
We like parsnips. These honey coated (cooked) parsnips are grilled to care mealies and crisp up and are truly delicious “ahem” chips.
Creamy orange mash:
With a dollop of butter and a secret handful of carrots and even suede if you really want to amp up the veggies, this yummy mash always goes down well.
Chocolate orange and raisin lollipops will finish the meal and are great at a party!
The biggest change since last year is my attitude, if she doesn’t want to open presents then fair enough, if she wants to sit and watch the first three minutes of the Peppa Pig Christmas episode over and over and over again well then everyone needs to let her be. At least it’s a Christmassy episode. It’s her Christmas too.