As I have said so many times before, it always amazes me that how fast the stores put up the holiday items.  In July, you see items for back to school.  On December 26th, you see valentine items and so on.

Well people, I have been looking at my all time favorite candy EVER…candy corn in store aisles since the end of August.  I struggled with seeing it on the shelves back then but now in addition to the candy, there are all the decorations.  So now that it is almost October, I am wrapping my head around the fact that store decorations actually match the calendar.

So my cute little candy story has a purpose.

While I was shopping for some things in our local drugstore, I an noticing the decorations that I just mentioned  and that were not there last week.

Specifically a witch.

She was a green faced witch who was about 4 feet tall….really haggard looking too!

With her mouth open and scowling.

And to top it off, she was motion sensitive.

So when this little boy about 2 years old rounded the bend he set off the witch.  So she started making witch noises and stirring her pot all while her head moved.

This poor little guy just screamed and cried and literally started shaking in his little shoes.  His mom grabbed him up and hugged him and told him not to be afraid. That it was ok and that is was just a silly Halloween decoration.

I felt so sorry for the little guy and this scene got me thinking about Elizabeth.  She is my daughter who has special needs.  She has severe sensory processing disorder ( SPD) and dyspraxia.  For those who do not know, she is 22 years old now and with years of therapy and hard work, her sensory issues have lessened so very much. But they will still rear their ugly head, for specific things, don’t get me wrong.

But back to why I thought of her, it was that I think for most of her early years, the reaction the little boy felt with the witch, was probably how she felt about so many experience that she faced in each day. I remember watching her eyes show so much fear about going into a store to get shoes, or walking into a darkened church…and on and on.  Things that others did without any concern or stress.

I think what was amazing to me was that while the little boy was so very afraid, and trust me he was shaking!, he was able to be consoled, to have his nerves calmed and he soon became ready for more shopping.

But for those who have these sensory issues, a scare, fright, challenge or true meltdown, can, at least for us, result in an Elizabeth who was upset for a long, long time.  There was no sure way to help calm her nervous system, let alone have it done so quickly and certainly there would have NEVER been more shopping that day…..probably not in that particular store for a LONG time!

I think seeing this the other day just once again reaffirms the need that our special children have for good advocacy.   The need they have for someone to speak up for them, to tell those working with them what they  need and what they cannot yet tolerate.

I am happy I did the work I did for Elizabeth but I know we will be doing more as she grows…in different forms…. but making sure to be there for her when she needs me.

Imagine the fear in that boy and how we really don’t want our special children to feel that if they don’t have to.

The needs of our special children need to be believed and they themselves need to be believed in.

To end this on a happy note, when I left the little boy was happily munching a treat and his tears had dried.

I wish everyone a peaceful week.

Michele Gianetti author of “I Believe In You: A Mother and Daughter’s Special Journey” and “Emily’s Sister”