10 Things That Are “Typical” At An Autism House Party
January 2, 2013
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Now Reading: 10 Things That Are “Typical” At An Autism House Party
January 2, 2013
(originally written & published on January 2, 2013)
The wife, king, and I went to an autism holiday “house party” a few days ago. All kids on the spectrum aged 5-11, accompanied by their moms and dads. These are mostly moderate to low functioning kids with one or two higher functioning or typical siblings in the mix.
I previously wrote about how “Autism Only Birthday parties Are All Right With Me”.
I like the autism house party just as much. But unlike the birthday parties, these parties aren’t held at a gym or a pool or a fun place for the kids. They’re held at one of our homes. So, it’s really mostly an excuse for the parents to get together. I don’t think our kids enjoy it that much. They are either indifferent or ornery… but whatever, the moms and dads hang out and have fun for as long as our kids will let us….and then we make a quick escape.
And I’ve noticed a few things. So here’s a list of 10 things that are “typical” at autism house parties (at least in our section of Autism Avenue), but would be probably be untypical at a typical house party…get it? 🙂
1) I walk in to the bathroom to bring my son to the potty to find the seat up and a bowl full of poop, unflushed, no toilet paper. Didn’t even give it a second thought…just flushed, and sat Kyle down for his turn…
2) Just like at typical mom & dad parties, the dads are in one room bullshitting and the women are in another room gossiping… but no one is sitting down…
3) It’s late December, late afternoon, and maybe 20 degrees outside, but there’s a boy at the party wearing only a bathing suit…nothing else…the whole time…I didn’t even bat an eye…nobody did…
4) Late into the party, the wife whispered in my ear, “don’t eat the guacamole” and I knew exactly what that meant. One of the kids had either double or triple dipped, or stuck their boogery hands right in there and grabbed some.
5) Objects are being thrown, ornaments pulled, tantrums & meltdowns, and nobody bats an eye. All you hear is “…don’t worry about it…it’s not breakable…he’s fine…leave him alone… do you want a beer?…”
6) There’s maybe 8 or 9 kids there altogether and none of them are really interacting with each other… mostly just wandering the house with one parent playing goalie, or watching shows, or reading books…there’s maybe 4-5 screens being watched at once, 2 Ipads, a tv in the playroom, and a tv in the living room, all while there’s music playing. The most interaction you’ll get between them is them getting possessive over their ipads.
7) I walked by the bathroom to take my son a second time, and this time the door was wide open and there was one of the guys taking a poop. He looked straight at me. Unfazed, I waved at him, said “good job!” and moved on and wondered if it was him left the previous toilet bowl present.
8) All autism houses in our world seem to have a backyard trampoline. And if it was just a few degrees warmer…maybe 29 degrees?…we would have thrown all the kids in the trampoline…
9) Speaking of trampolines, The rules/ warnings of how many kids are allowed on a trampoline at once, don’t apply at autism parties. “ha look at this, it says one kid at a time” In the summer, the trampolines at our autism house parties look like a clown car…
10) This might not fit in with the rest of the list, but I couldn’t really think of a 10th so here goes… We are not talking about our kids. We are not talking about autism. We’re not talking about their schools or doctors. We’re talking about sports, movies, the holidays, etc. It’s quite amazing. I’m pulling Kyle off the fireplace with one hand while holding a beer with the other hand while talking with the dads, complaining about the NY Yankees not making any moves this off-season…and nobody bats an eye… 🙂
That’s it. Hope you enjoyed it!
Written byFrank Campagna
I’m a 48 year old neurotypical dad with a 14 year old son with severe, non-verbal autism & epilepsy. I created this blog to rant about autism & epilepsy while celebrating my son who I affectionately call “the king” :-).
31 People Replies to “10 Things That Are “Typical” At An Autism House Party”
I was at one birthday party where the birthday boy ( dressed as spiderman ) would stand up in a chair and with a wooden spoon in one hand and spatula in the other hand start directing us to sing Happy Birthday ONE MORE AGAIN ……..ONE MORE AGAIN. lol love your list. hugs to all
LOVED IT!!! Number 5 just like our house .
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I laughed so hard at you list people at my office were looking at me.
The new normal.
Sounds like a great escape and breather for the parents. I wish we could get in on that. But with five boys, and only the oldest being ASD, There's only so much we are able to do. At least my wife's family is great with him. I could see him at one of those kinds of parties sitting by with his tablet. Hopefully there isn't a home computer accesible, or he'd be all over it.
We consider my parents house Colins second home because its the only other house on either side of the family that is "Colin-safe". I dont know what it would be like to be able to go to a friends house with my boys and not worry about anything.
I remember a family member telling me it's easier to avoid me then trying not to offend me. It hurt but it seem the older,bigger an stronger he get the less an less the family and friends come around. Who ask a 13yr old to a 3yr old party and who want a 13yr old in a diaper @ their 13yr old party. I had to be honest with myself,if this was not my life would I be so excepting of others dealing with this ??? I don't know. 🙁
To the person complaining about her family member who has a child with autism. If you lack as much compassion as your words indicate, you don't, nor will you ever understand. No amount of explaining or teaching you about autism will ever make you see the reality of it. Your words seem to indicate that you think she should be able to control her child, make him more easy to be around to appease you and your friends and family. I know as a mom to a 6 yr old son with autism this can not be done. Obviously if it could we would not be having this discussion. I am not a mean person, but from the tone of your letter, you are not a person I would ever want around my son. Pathetic!
We had a cool Christmas party like that at school a couple of weeks ago. One of the moms organized crafts and snacks. Almost all of the parents came and hung out. We started the party with a whole school sing-a-long that featured a video version of the Gingerbread Man that our students had made. It was so cool to see all the adults there having fun with other autism parents. It was the first time we tried such a free form day – we are usually very structured at school. For me the best part was seeing how well the students accepted the changes to routine.
We don't get to many (that is: ANY) autism house parties. But, knowing what we do about our kids, autism and how we as parents just "deal", this is awesome!
Wow….. This sounds WONDERFUL!!!! I'm in Arkansas if anyone on here wants to start up some autism parties here!!!
Mine is the one in his swiming suit no matter the temp. He loves it for some reason! We also have the big backyard trampoline!
I wish I had a group of parents/kids like this in my life! I would love to take my son somewhere and not have people stare at him because he isn't typical. All of my friends have NT children so we have just stopped going to birthday parties for their kids because it is just too much work for us.
I was told about this blog by a friend, why because my nephew deal with asd(sister-n-law). The problem is he is 10 but his age level is 2. Now we have try hard to help his parents but his mother seem to think and act as if we owe her something,@ my child last b/day party her child ruin it for my child he torn her cake a part,he broke the X-box,in which she refuse to replace,he play with his spit that I don't won't wipe all over,he dig in his pants front & back,he dig in his nose and eat it but she want the family to make our kids play with him and let him eat with us and we can't do it + he wear diapers and I'm not changing the diaper of a 10yr old young man and he's not my child.(who would?)I'm not being mean just honset. we think she expect to much from us, I here her whine abt we don't know hard they have it or how the school better do something abt their child problem. This is not my fight. So now she is upset,mad because there was no invite to the holiday parties for her son. She have told us often that the school or the Drs. etc do not know him and don't listen to them,I so want to ask her why do she keep taking him to that school and just do it all her-self. The fact is we can't deal with him or please his parents I would like to know how much to you expect people to deal with ? he have spit on,bit,hit family members often and yes the the other children are scare of him and no we don't give her advice all we do is protect our children and she get offended over everything,don't ask her this or that,don't say this or that.She call a family member stupid and it got ugly so now family avoid her always ask if they are coming to the family gathering if so most want attend and those that do just keep close watch of their children and the food ask her to take diapers outside that also offended her. Outside of leaving them alone all together we don't know what to do. She also get mad when we talk abt us ladies going out to shop or a movie or just getting together like it's our fault she can't get a babysitter so when she's around we can't talk about doing fun things. How much is to much ?
Absolutely well said (and very well written).
This is a bit dated, but I just had to reply.
While it may be true that this particular ASD mom has high expectations of the level of participation that other family members should give, I have to address the blatant lack of compassion and respect displayed by the one who posted the complaint in the first place.
The 10 year old is your nephew. So, he's still wearing diapers. He's DISABLED. Would you be so callous about having to change a diaper, if said child had Cerebal Palsy? Or if he had Down's Syndrome? Of if he was paralized from the chest down? You complain because you get spit on, or hit, or bit. I imagine then, that his mother receives this kind of attention on a DAILY basis, and then to hear you and everyone else talking about, and planning an outing, has to be very frustrating. Autism is 24/7. Yes, It's HER responsibility to secure respite care. And you complain that she can't find a babysitter? Perhaps one of you ladies who keep planning outings with each other could give up your shopping trip, and allow her to go in your place.
You shouldn't be expected to care for said child ALL of the time. But some compassion might help a LOT more than you know. Perhaps stop by, unannounced, and drop off a couple nights worth of pre-made dinners that she can freeze, and then pop in the microwave, and NOT comment on the condition of her living room, or the number of broken toys on the floor. Offer to watch him so she can go to the grocery store without having to deal with yet another public meltdown. Even an HOUR, just away from it all, will help recharge her batteries. Or offer to just sit in the living room and keep an eye on him while he takes what is probably the first stress free shower in years, by the sound of your, and your family's lack of compassion and support. She doesn't want you to buy her anything. She doesn't want you to give her money. She wants you to accept her child as a member of the family, who is just as deserving of respect and love as the rest of you. The other children are afraid of him.. because they take ques from YOUR reactions. If it's not a big deal to YOU, it won't be a big deal to them. You have to TEACH them about Autism, and about how his behaviors are different. About how he might not understand what he's doing, or how what he's doing isn't appropriate, but it's FORGIVABLE. That, in fact, IS YOUR JOB. To teach YOUR children tolerance of those who are different, and less able than themselves. It is NOT your job to perpetuate fear, ignorance, and a lack of compassion. Do you also point and giggle at those with disabilities in public? Because in essence, that's what you're teaching them to do, by alienating the 10 year Autistic child.
It sounds like she does "lean" on you all quite a bit and has an unreal expectation. Most of us ASD parents are very hands-on with our kids when out with others and it sounds like this mom may not be. I still do think you could be supportive by sharing this blog with her (well, maybe not because if she reads your post she might go insanely mad!) but do what you are doing right now- help her by seeking out websites and information that can HELP her. YOu cannot physically take care of her child but you can help her find tools so she could be better at it! I hope this situation works out for your whole family.
I do feel bless that I don't have to deal with it. And my little angel cry over their b/day being ruin. She have been included it's not the family job to get respite it's her job. She truely do overreacts and people are tried of walking on egg shells because of her reaction. We can't do anymore and he can't be allow to break things and his parents don't feel they should have to replace what he break because of the asd now that work @ home and I guess school but not people home's. She is welcome to come out with us anytime but don't hold us @ fault that she can't go.
Here's an idea- why don't you give your sister in law this blog address so we can support her for having no other support in her life.
Honestly- what would you do if your child was like hers? She's not being a bad parent and I am sure she feels really alone and isolated. I think you may as well just leave them alone all together because Im sure she sense what all of yu are really thinking behind her back.
"But for the grace of God go I"… you should be happy that your little angle could understand, why socially, it was meaningful that his birthday was ruined- they 10y ASD cannot. Feel lucky that you do not have to deal with it and be supportive of the one that does.
If she truely overreacts to polite conversation she may need some respite care. A "mental health break", ect. She may just need to feel included. It is a basic human need that doesn't go away because you are socially outcasted because of your child's behavior.
I wish we had these in the uk my lil one is 5 and high functioning. His peers accept him but its the looks that other parents can give. This sounds so much more accepting
I WANNA COME!!! -shannon
This made me sad that we dont know you!! Or anyone like tus. We live along the hudson river…probly not far from your neck of the woods but we dont know any parents similar to us! That kind of party is exactly what my husband and I need.
I wish we were able to do this…it sounds wonderful! -JoshysMom
I NEED to go to an Autism party!!! We are always the outcast at the parties we attend 🙁
Re number 5- the number of times I've said to parents of NT kids when they are about to scold their kid for touching something in my house- "don't worry- there is nothing precious at child height in our house"- and they don't understand that I actually mean it!!! One thing I like about hanging with other Autism families is that no one gets upset/offended if you suddenly say "we're going now", even if it seems like an inappropriate moment.
Great post!! 🙂
I wish we knew other autism families in our new area. I'd love to go to one of these. It sounds like a fun time.
I would add a nodding emoticon because that's how we do it.
I've been to so many autism parties that I'm quite partial to them — no worrying, no frills, everyone knows everyone else, so we all kind of look out for each other's kids. I've had some of my more relaxing and enjoyable times at autism parties.