What to Get - SEN Christmas

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Zowie Kaye

Zowie Kaye

My Big Fat Greek Family – we love our food and love each other even more. We're a like liquorice allsorts, all a bit different. I’m a full time wor...

My son is ten and it took me nine of those years to get the Christmas present purchasing just right.

Yes, NINE whole years, well I suppose the first few up until he was diagnosed at four were easy enough.

At that time, I was just purchasing the latest Cbeebies cartoon toy of the moment or any type of vehicle.

If it had wheels of any kind then it was a winner - preferably wheels that he could then proceed to chew off in the coming weeks and I would have to follow him, prizing them from his mouth.

I am just thankful he was never one of those children that chose to stuff these up his nose or in his ears - although the fear of him choking was real.

So, fast-forward to the years six, seven and eight.

These were the years that his speech was much more formed, his vocabulary was amazing and his writing was coming on.

This is where the lists started.

How hard can it be - to follow a list! that’s what he might as well have said to me for the next couple of years.

Christmas at six Cameron had most things on his list except for a bike.  He was growing so much at this stage and my logic was that I would wait until his birthday in May as he would not get much use of it during the winter months.

A wonderful day was had by all and when I asked Cameron how was his day - he said, "it was ok but I didn’t get everything on my list - I didn’t get a bike".

I was crushed - no one wants their child to remember not getting something they really wanted.

Christmas at seven was where I got everything on the list - we all know how rewarding this is as parents.

We would have no repeat of the previous year.

Yes, I even managed to get retro micro machines discontinued in 1993!! in addition though I bought him extras, you know bits that I thought he would like.

Since that Christmas, if I have ever only given one piece of advice to my fellow SEN parents that I hope they take on board - STICK TO THE LIST; No more, no less.

This was the year that he opened gifts and announced, "I didn’t ask for that" and this wasn’t just reserved for me and dad, this gem of information was also extended to family’s gifts.

I was mortified, I literally cringed, I was so angry at how could he be so ungrateful, but why though - in his logical mind he hadn’t, he was being truthful.

Its only society that tells us that you can’t say those things as it is rude.

Fast-forward another 12 months to Christmas age eight!!

Only list items were purchased; when family asked what to get him, they were also given a list item or asked to pop some money in a card as this is also something that he was starting to quite enjoy receiving.

As with previous years I asked, "how was your day today baby?"...... BEST CHRISTMAS EVER, I got everything I wanted.

It worked an absolute treat, genius and so much more stress free.

At nine I felt he was old enough and had come on so much in these last 12 months.

He knew about his autism now and was fully embracing this.

I made a suggestion to him: "How about you don’t make a list this year, I think between me and Santa we can figure out the things you like - lets have surprises this Christmas" and you know what, at first, he wasn’t sure.

He told me he would get back to me and that was fine, as he needed time to digest this massive change.

He eventually agreed!

"How was your day baby"..........."mum it was the best day, I’m actually quite surprised at all the amazing presents I got".  SUCCESS!

So, yet another 12 months have passed and as we were on approach to xmas 2018 he said.............

"Mum can I just have surprises again this year like last year"

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