Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Advocating for Santa

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Custom Santa Suit, http://www.costumers.com

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Disney had given me another kind of magic.  Being in a place where my kids got the accommodations they needed, I got to see them have just as good a time as any other kid.  Normally we avoid certain things, or we tentatively try them with me hanging around the periphery, ready to pull out in case of disaster.  But at Disney, all I’d had to do was ask for the supports my kids needed, and they were given.  Which leads me to think, maybe I just need to ask more.  Maybe instead of feeling like I’m putting people out by asking for certain things, I should instead approach as though my kids are entitled to enjoy the same experiences as other children, and I have every right to ask that they be included and assisted in that goal.

I know, you’re probably wondering why I’m not there already.  After all, Pudding is in the public school system, and receives numerous supports which, while not taking for granted, I do accept as her right.  But the law here explicitly states her entitlement to a free and appropriate education.  I don’t have a hard time pushing for what she needs there.  It is when there is no legal framework in place, when we rely on goodwill that I find it harder to insist on such supports.  When I think, wouldn’t it be nice if she could do X like the other kids, but we don’t because it is too hard.  I loved taking Pudding to a sensory showing at the cinema, but until now, I’ve held back on asking.

I’ve been looking for a Sensitive Santa for a while now.  We just never seemed to be in the right place at the right time, and eventually I gave up for this year.  We’ve just been too busy, and I haven’t had time to talk it through with Pudding.  We walked into a mall in Orlando, and saw the familiar site of families queuing up to get their pictures taken with Santa.  He wasn’t a “sensitive” one, but nonetheless, out of nowhere I became determined that Pudding and Cubby took part in this quintessential childhood experience.

I approached the staff, and asked explain that Pudding found it impossible to wait in long lines.  I asked if they could suggest a time when we could return without having to queue.  The lady consulted with another, and the next thing we knew, we were being ushered to meet Santa that very minute!

I’d love to say that Pudding jumped on his lap, and told him what she wanted for Christmas, but with no explaining or coaching, that was never going to be.  She refused to sit on his lap (rightly so, as we spend the rest of the year ensuring stranger danger), but she was content enough to sit with me next to him.  Cubby screamed his little heart out, but calmed down enough when Daddy took him to sit on his lap.  In the end, we got a group photo (including Ernie) that is acceptable.

More than that, I got a lesson that it is okay to ask for what my kids need.  Being an advocate doesn’t just happen at school, I need to get comfortable with doing it all the time.  So comfortable, that when those beautiful big eyes are watching me, they see that it is okay to ask for what you need.  I can’t think of a better present to ask from Santa.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

December 17, 2010 at 7:58 am

7 Responses

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  1. we were just talking about this at my support group last night – about Santa and the uncertainty of the whole picture taking adventure, and how to make it better. We decided that next year we’re going to have our own Sensitive Santa in town, open house style, bring your own camera…free. One of us will get our husbands to be that Sensitive Santa so we know that it will be a person who gets it.
    Ask me next December how it goes. 🙂


    December 17, 2010 at 9:08 am

  2. This is such a good post. I have never really asked too. But we just booked tickets to see a show in New York next week and I did explain our situation. My guy has ASD and huge visual impairments. There wasn’t much, but they did get us front row tickets that were not available online. So as you said, just ask, you never know!


    December 18, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    • I don’t know about you, but now that I’ve had some success, I’m likely to do it all the more. Thank you for your comment, and enjoy the show!

      Spectrummy Mummy

      December 18, 2010 at 8:43 pm

  3. You always teach me SO much through your posts.
    Once again, you didn’t disappoint!


    December 21, 2010 at 4:35 am

  4. […] My fight is about getting her to the point where she could go to this very DIY store, or any other place that she struggles.  Or getting them to adapt for her. […]

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