Thursday, October 07, 2010

Kim Stagliano on CafeMom's The Stir: Halloween and Autism

Thanks to Julie Ryan Evans for asking me some questions about what's Halloween like when you have a child on the spectrum. Please pop over to her blog The Stir at CafeMom to leave your own suggestions and thoughts, won't you? The photo is a costume I made for Bella in Kindergarten. She was Leo the Late Bloomer whose first words are, "I made it!" Here's to hope friends, and lots of candy for Mom and Dad on Halloween! Thanks. KIM

By Julie Ryan Evans

Halloween can be frightening and hard to explain to any child. Talk of ghosts and witches, scary masks, and grave stones in the neighbor's yard can prompt plenty of nightmares.

For children with autism, however, it can be particularly challenging to celebrate the holiday with all the new rules (yes, you can actually knock on someone's door and ask for candy) and nuances it brings.

Kim Stagliano, author of the new book All I Can Handle I'm No Mother Teresa, is the mother of three girls who have autism. I talked with her about her experiences with them and Halloween over the years and what other people can do to make the holiday a little less frightening and more enjoyable for children with autism and their families.

What challenges do children with autism face when it comes to Halloween?

Oh, where to begin? Well, Halloween is inherently abstract, and that can be difficult for some kids on the spectrum. It's hard to separate the illusion of costumes from reality. The concept of not going into a house after ringing the doorbell was tough too -- 364 days a year you go to a door, ring the bell, and walk in, and here you have this one night where everyone is out and yet you can't walk into the house? It confused my oldest daughter especially.

Any anecdotes or examples from your own family?

Read the full post and comment with your Halloween stories at The Stir at CafeMom.

1 comment:

kim mccafferty said...

Hah. My oldest still doesn't understand why the other days of the year he can't ring a bell, enter a home, and try to drag the prettiest girl in the house outside with him. Last year he was only six. Good times ahead...