Pam Halter
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Post-Christmas-Reentry-Syndrome
Friday, January 4, 2013 by pam

Christmas is hard for special needs kids. They don't understand in the same way we do. Simple things like decorating a Christmas tree can be a frustrating and somewhat dangerous thing.

Anna loves lights. When we had a tree, she would often want to see the lights up close. But she didn't understand the concept of stepping close to the tree to see them. She brought the lights to her. She also brought the tree to her. Multiple times.

Then there's opening presents. When Anna was a toddler, she hated the sound of paper ripping. She'd scream the whole time we opened presents. That was fun. As she grew, she began to LIKE the sound of ripping paper – which meant pretty much nothing was safe. Today, she loves tissue paper, and we try to use as many gift bags as possible. But we have to keep a tight watch or she'll pull the paper out of all of them, whether they're hers or not. She's also been known to put things IN. Anna loves putting things in things. Her favorite toy is a plastic box which she puts small toys and blocks in and dumps them out and starts all over again. Often using her feet. Family and friends know to look for small toys, ripped paper and Dorito or pretzel crumbs in their gift bags.

Bows and ribbon? She loves them, too. I haven't used them in years.

Still, it's hard when people give her presents and expect her to open them right away. She just doesn’t get it. We're used to her, but at the same time, it's a little sad she doesn't get excited or look forward to the gifts. She enjoys the process, but she doesn't really understand.

The hardest part is that she isn't in her regular routine. No day program to get ready for. Just time home with mom and dad – or worse yet – visiting friends and relatives. She's fine getting in the van and going for a ride, but after about 5 minutes at someone else's house, she's pretty much ready to leave. One of us has to sit with her all the time, so we often don't get a chance to take part in the fun.

It has prompted us to keep Christmas as simple as possible. Guess what? It's not a bad thing! We are more relaxed. We focus more on the meaning of the day. We enjoy each other's company. I think this is a pleasing thing to the Lord and it works for us.

Anna is back to her routine and couldn't be happier. No Post-Christmas-Reentry-Syndrome for her! The rest of us? That's another story.


Comments

jenny From PA At 1/8/2013 8:36:25 PM

This was interesting to read,... For us - in a different way, it's similar. Lack of routine,more family, no day school = lack of self control,regression, HYPER-Hyperactivity and frustration and anger on our part. I don't ""like"" holidays, but I still love them.... Thanks for a peek into your life.

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