November 4

Seeking Perfection


So this year, I took both of my sons trick-or-treating to the mall. This was the first year I had ever done this and I was excited yet anxious too. Actually, I was partly dreading it because I didn’t know how Trey, my Autistic son, would act. However, I tried to be open-minded, and hoped that the crowd and noises would not overwhelm him. Trey hates being in enclosed public places but since it was raining that day, I didn’t think it was a good idea to take him trick or treating outside. So, I took my chances with the mall.

Well, to say it was not pure chaos, is an understatement. I mean, long lines to stand to get candy and loud, noisy children darting from one store to the next. Trey probably sensing the chaos, started to get riled up. He is not sensory sensitive (otherwise I would never have taken him to the mall) but he IS sensory seeking. Loud noise and chaos actually stimulate him to the point where his behavior becomes unmanageable. He starts to jump and make loud noises in response to other loud noises. I tried to manage him by talking to him and telling him to stop jumping and to be quiet, but it didn’t work. He was in his groove and you could tell he did this to get out of the situation. He did not want to stand in line and he was not interested in any candy (he does not have a sweet tooth like his brother). The more I tried to calm him down, the worse he got. Eventually, my husband said to me in his quiet deep voice but with a stern tone, “Kira, he is special needs.” I don’t know if it was his tone or what he said but I stopped. I stopped immediately. I stopped nit-picking at Trey’s behavior and trying to get him to be like all the kids, excited and patiently awaiting their candy. I eventually left my son and husband in line and took my other son to the other stores to continue on but I realized in that moment that Trey does not have to behave like the other kids because he is NOT like the other kids. I had an unrealistic expectation that he act “normal” and do as he was told in what was an impossible situation for an Autistic child to act normal. I was actually lucky that this situation had not cause irreparable damage to my son. I need to stop expecting my son to be ‘perfect’ in these very challenging situations. It is unfair for me to have such high expectations for him. I need to be more realistic.

I challenge you as parents to do the same. Do not force your neuroatypical children to be in situations you know they would rather avoid for the sake of pictures, social media, or them appearing normal. Do not get my wrong; there are certain things that your children have to do such as school, church, family get-togethers, supermarket etc. but if it is not necessary and causes your child harm and discomfort, avoid it. If you have to take your child to an event and they act up, it is OK. People such as the general public need to be more understanding of your child’s actions and limitations, not the child having to change to make others more comfortable. I am learning a lot as I journey through parenthood and having a special needs son and I am so glad for the lessons I have learned. I hope you feel the same and come to an understanding and acceptance of your child’s special needs in this complicated world we live in. Also, if I can give you any advice…Skip the mall trick-or-treat, lol!

Love and light,



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