The stress of Christmas is showing in our house and our youngest son has spent most of the time since he packed up school on Friday making dens under our dining table and chairs with quilts and cushions, so that he can shut himself off from the world. It is keeping him calm and gives him a place to retreat when everything becomes too much for him.
Christmas for our children is spread over a week. They will be getting a present from one set of grandparents tomorrow, have another family present on Christmas Eve, then on Christmas Day they will have their presents from Father Christmas and us. Next weekend they will receive their presents from my mum. As well as making the magic of Christmas last that much longer, it also stops it becoming an overwhelming event and seems easier for the kids to manage this way. If we put all their presents out on Christmas Day, our ASD children would not know where to start and Christmas Day would quickly disintegrate into a huge meltdown. It is likely there will be mini meltdowns this week and we expect them to happen, but they will be easier to manage.
We have double checked with family that none of our youngest son’s presents have been wrapped up, as he came home from school with a present on Friday that was wrapped and it caused him to scream and shout for an hour and in his words 'my brain is angry'. When he sees one present like this he panics that Father Christmas will forget to keep his presents unwrapped. It seems such a small thing, but the unknown element of a wrapped present can be a frightening concept to someone with ASD.