There really is some comfort in seeing some “normal” things. One of which is that it is only Halloween but the Christmas items have been in the stores for a while.

Right along side the Halloween candy…yep. Normal.

As I look at the big bags of Halloween candy, I can’t help but wonder how much of it will find its way into the bags of trick or treaters this very unusual year.

I know in our area, we are actually having trick or treat hours. This news caused a great deal of discussion and emotions on both sides of the fence.

From:

YES! We should let the kids have their fun, after all it has been such a tough time for them

To:

No! It is not safe to run the risk of exposing everyone. Let’s cancel it.

No matter where your feelings fall, Halloween is here. And no matter where your feelings fall, BECAUSE Halloween is here this year, it is requiring a conversation with your child. But if your child has special needs, in my opinion, they will need more…they will benefit from having the concepts of Halloween 2020 communicated to them. Here are 3 simple tips for navigating Halloween during a pandemic:

What does it look like this year?

Will they be going house to house in your neighborhood? Will you be taking them at all? Explaining the virus AGAIN to your children and why it is changing this fun holiday will be helpful. Offering something in replacement for it may soften the impact. I know a friend who is planning a night of movies and treats for her children instead of heading out. Not the same for sure, but then again, really nothing is the same in 2020!

What the school will do this year?

I fully get that many are remote learners due to the virus but for those in the school system, will the school encourage dressing up? Will they have a parade?, or will they do very little?

If your child has special needs and attends school, talking through these things will really help them prepare as best they can for the changes. I know with Elizabeth, my daughter with special needs, telling her ahead of time about the parade helped her SPD (Sensory processing disorder) stay in check.

Information can help our special needs children prepare better. So it helps to learn what your school is doing and share as best as you think for your child.

Find a replacement

In our town, there are many other options to trick or treating. There are trunk or treat events scheduled and even drive through trunk or treats (I am not sure how that works myself, but it is an option)!

Or like I mentioned prior, plan a fun, special night if everything we usually do is not in your comfort level.

The big thing, I think is to be honest with your child about the why of your decision. To be honest about what they need to do to be safe for whatever thing you plan or chose to do.

Communicating in the manner that is best for your children, be them special needs or neurotypical, will help them understand the latest twist and turn of life in 2020.

I wish everyone a peaceful week. And again, ask everyone to wear a mask. I do for my mom and others who could get really ill.

Stay safe.

Michele Gianetti author of Elizabeth Believes in Herself.

It is funny but as I listen to different pod casts I hear about the need to listen, to hear other peoples words. These pod casts talk about the importance of being able to receive words, thoughts and suggestions from others. I think this is a good thing. Being able to do this allows for good conversations, the ability to move forward if there is a disagreement and to learn from someone else’s experiences.

But what that pod cast didn’t talk about is this thing called perspective that goes with the above.

Because WHAT someone says can be entirely different from what someone THINKS they hear or what they FEEL after hearing these words.

Even if the words and the ensuing feels are truly worlds apart.

This is why text messages can be problematic sometimes. I mean how can you be sure that those words you are reading are a joke or are meant to be serious ..an emoji helps but you see what I mean.

Sometimes even the best planned words can be heard or interpreted differently. Elizabeth and I had just this scenario happen on Tuesday. Elizabeth is my daughter with special needs. She has Global Dyspraxia and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) These disorders affect her motor planning to do any and all skills. Her organization of steps to do a task and well… actually they they affect her throughout each day all day.

Let me tell you a little story called “I did not mean it that way!”

Elizabeth and I were sitting at the island in our kitchen, she was working on a computer program, one that was on her typing skills. This is one of her goals we talked about prior.

Yet, she was not trying to do any of what was asked on the program, which would improve her skills but instead doing her own version of typing. Her way is fine and gets the job done but she asked to work on typing better and faster.

So, here we are on a program for that good reason.

When I told her to watch the screen and try what they are asking, she cut me off mid sentence.

Continued on typing her old way.

Again, I tried to help her.

Again, I was cut off.

We had 2 more rounds of this….

Then I got frustrated and told her what I felt about being cut off mid sentence and the need for her to try a little bit better on this program. And didn’t she remember it was her goal?

Pretty innocent right?

Except it wasn’t heard that way. As the tears started to roll from Elizabeth’s eyes, I learned she heard it so differently, that her perspective on the whole interaction was so far from what I wanted her to feel.

I was stunned for a moment when she told me her feeling which included me thinking she can’t do this right or well. And that I need to know my frustration makes her nervous.

END OF STORY

It is perspective again. I said this and she heard that.

I quickly apologized and hugged her. And told her what I felt and meant. As well as telling her how I understood that new things are hard for her.

We then went right into conversation about what just happened. Which I think was a good thing but I have to say, I am now thinking a great deal about perspective when I share words and feelings. I want to try to have her perspective to match my words and feelings.

I think being aware of this is important. And this was a great reminder that they don’t always match.

I share this because sometimes we can forget, I know I am grateful for the reminder. Wow, wow and wow huh?

I know my journey and learning with Elizabeth continues….

I wish everyone a peaceful week. Please wear a mask. I do for my mom and others who could get really ill.

Michele Gianetti author of Elizabeth Believes in Herself.

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