Every Christmas there is one toy that the whole world wants.

 

You see the commercials on television, showing kids playing with this toy and having a great time.

I used to look at those toys and think if my children would really like them or not. I mean, not always will that toy be a “fan favorite” of every child in that age bracket. So I would think and think about it. And that was all well and good, but as I thought about it, there was this little nagging thought that even if Elizabeth seemed to like the toy….

Would she really like it?

Would she try to play with it?

Would she just look at it and let it sit in the corner?

It was at these times that her special needs came out into the spotlight. Because when typical children seem ready and able to play with and enjoy a new toy, my special needs child cannot.

It is hard to let this reality in, I am not going to lie. It is easy to keep trying to deny. It is way more easy to keep pretending. But the truth can sometimes arrive in the form of a toy not played with.

Not because they don’t want to, but because they simply cannot.

Elizabeth’s dyspraxia and its resulting lack of natural curiosity, would make discovering, manipulating and playing with a new toy simply too overwhelming. So much so, that it was her way, to look at it, and then set it aside.

We would try to engage her into trying to dress a Barbie.

Only to find her frustrated by the fine motor skills needed to do this, the very skills she lacked.

We would try to make it fun for her to try to use the Easy Bake Oven, but again. No success.

Now granted these attempts were made when she was much younger and deep in throes of her Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), but the thoughts and feelings that these experiences gave me about special needs and Christmas are still with me to this day.

 

I learned that knowing about her disorders and how they affect her made it easy for me to find gifts and surprises that could fit her needs at the time.

I learned that shopping on sites that are meant for special needs children is a wonderful way to get ideas for gifts that I may not have thought of. Like our site for a quick example.

I learned that it is okay to let go of the toys that should fit her age and focus on the toys that will be fun and help her learn things….items that easily fit into her sensory diet.

I learned her likes: Cozy pajamas, “sleepy socks” as she calls them, and flannel sheets. And we made sure to include those fun things for her for Christmas. Nice, sensory friendly items.

I recognized that it is hard to see the world all around you, simply and effortlessly enjoying all that the holidays bring, while your child is working so hard on the simple things in a day.

I learned that Elizabeth brings her own gifts to us, ones not found in boxes.

She brings love, perspective, joy, and fun.

So I offer out to try not to let in the “toy craze”, to not feel defeated but instead be proud you know your child’s needs. And can find the surprises for the holidays that they will like and need.

I wish you all a peaceful week.

Michele

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