AUTISTIC LINCS: An Autistic Christmas Part 1
‘It’s nearly here!’ screams Cally as she charges from her room to her Dad, Liam, who is sitting downstairs on the sofa with Tom.
At the sharp sound of Cally’s tone, Tom curved his hands around his ears and buried his head in the comforting embrace of Dad.
‘Careful talking, Cally, please’ says Dad in a calm tone of voice.
‘Oh, he’s fine. At least he knows how to cover his ears. Could be worse, couldn’t it really?’ Cally responds.
‘I am not sure ‘worse’ is the right word to use, Cally?’ Dad gently questions.
‘Well, it’s like…you know…’ said Cally as she drifted off and started to make herself a sandwich.
Indeed, Dad did know. Dad knew that witnessing anything unfamiliar makes people curious and it was often tricky finding the words to explain Tom. Cally had spent enough Christmases with the family to form the opinion that Tom stood out like a sore thumb (that Tom would surely suck on if there actually WAS a thumb in front of him!)
At least Tom was getting attention, right? Was it the right attention?
Christmas was approaching in two days’ time and Dad could see it now.
Family would gather, Tom included for as long as he could manage, then he would make a swift exit to the back garden to chew everything in sight.
Over the past years, many family members on his side of the family had openly spoken about Tom being a ‘loner’ compared with other children with some telling Dad to ‘leave him to it.’ Dad did not WANT to ‘leave him to it’ as his family, in Dad’s mind, so negatively encouraged.
Dad had a feeling that, while it would be unadvised to force Tom to endure pain, there was still work to be done to ensure Tom got SOMETHING out of the festive season. And he was determined to find out how to make that happen.
With passion fueling his rusty engine, Dad stroked Tom’s hair softly and a smile shone on his face.
Lisa, Tom’s mother, announced to the family, ‘Mum is home!’ Lisa...or Mum, knew Tom needed routine and to anticipate change therefore it would be beneficial to say her name as she entered a room so as not to cause any panic.
However, at Christmas, Mum struggled to cope with Tom. She felt a deep need to have Tom be part of the family gathering. Of course, there were additional social pressures placed on her by numerous members of her side of the family and she just wanted to understand why Tom hadn’t grown out of it yet.
‘What a glorious day that would be,’ Mum thought to herself.
‘Hello Cally. Hello Liam. Hello Tom,’ said Mum.
All except Tom replied with their respective hellos.
Mum wore many scarves, this year’s theme being red.
There were two purposes to this.
Firstly, Mum liked scarves. Secondly, they were worn to hide what happened to Mum seemingly a decade ago but in fact was only two years ago.
Mum and Cally had an angry argument with Dad, regarding Tom.
Mum and Cally believed that this Christmas was going to be the one where Tom would stop all his babyish behaviours like stuffing present wrapping in his mouth, ripping it to shreds and then spitting it out onto the previously clean floor. Mum and Cally were certain that Tom had gone for Mum’s neck when yet more present wrapping was destroyed as a way of saying ‘I will not be denied’ but Dad had fought the corner of his son, albeit perhaps not strongly enough in Dad’s mind. Dad defended Tom’s actions by commanding Mum and Cally to ‘Go easy on the boy, he’s upset.’
‘Yes and we know why he is upset. We’re not letting him get what he wants’ insisted Mum and Cally.
So when Mum came through the door, she took off her red scarf and all other outdoor clothes, put the kettle on, and then charged upstairs to immediately work on house maintenance. Matters concerning Christmas, like the gifts millions received on this day, were kept under wraps.
They could be left until tomorrow; Christmas Eve.
More in next week's Autistic Lincs.
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Until next Tuesday!