Sunday, November 10, 2013

Halloween with my Sensory Boy!

For the first time in two years we had Halloween!  This was the first Halloween we have had since we knew my son Liam has a sensory processing disorder.  We are also anxiously awaiting our appointment with a developmental pediatrician to determine whether or not Liam is on the spectrum or if anything else is going on.  This is also the first Halloween we have had since our boys are old enough to understand the concept of trick or treating!


As many fellow sensory parents know, Halloween can be challenging for children who don't like change or new situations or unknown places.  We started the week of Halloween off with a local pumpkinfest where our son Caleb had a pumpkin on display.  It also allowed to us practice our trick or treat skills as we stopped for candy at the various treat stations along the festival route.  Caleb was Woody from Toy Story, Jake was Iron Man and Liam was slated to be Buzz.  He had put on the costume a couple of weeks before without incident.  When it came time to go to the pumpkinfest he refused the costume, but he went.  The decorations freaked him out and he stayed in the baby carrier the whole time, but he participated.

As Halloween got closer Liam kept telling me that Halloween was closed or that he will stay in the house.  The day of Halloween arrived.  He is in an inclusion class at his preschool so they do not do costumes, they simply had an orange and black party the day of Halloween where everyone brought in treats and they wore there self made bat hats.  No worry about costumes there.  Daddy got home from work early, we tried to give the boys some dinner and it was time to put on the costumes!!  Jake eagerly put on his Iron Man costume, Caleb jumped into his Woody costume and then it was time to see if Liam would put on his Buzz costume.

 "I can't do it mommy, I can't put on my costume."  I find when Liam says he can't do something, he generally means it.  The good news is he was willing to put on his sweatshirt and come outside with us.  I put him in the baby carrier and away we went trick or treating.  Through my trial and error over the past year and half figuring out what works and what doesn't, I have found our "baby carrier" to be invaluable.  It allows Liam the comfort of being close to me and provides some proprioceptive input to ease his anxiety.

We went to about 10-15 houses.  We took turns ringing doorbells and said trick or treat and thank you.  Everyone was done after an hour, as it started to drizzle and it was time to head home and pick out one treat to have before bed!  Liam was so happy to be home but I am so proud he went out and tried this new experience.  It is so important to me that he at least tries.  I find I often do a balancing act; figuring out when to push him and when to pull back.  I am not always right, I often struggle to find the right strategy or just to hold it together.  As the five of us sat on the living room floor and reviewed our candy choices, I asked Liam what he was for Halloween.  His response?  "A sweatshirt mommy."  This years Halloween may not have been perfect, but I would not have it any other way!