Tuesday 8 December 2015

Always the same Christmas Tree because they all the same?

Yes, we have finally put up the Christmas Tree. The whole build up to Christmas can be a bit stressful in our home. It brings with it a lot of change of routine and unexpected events which can be difficult for our autistic sons. With Anthony's recent 'All the trees are dead' comment I had expected to have an interesting 'evergreen' conversation with him when we put up the Christmas tree. However it didn't go as I had expected.

Anthony has been pointing out the 'dead' trees on the way to school for the last month. In the last week or so we've also noted some if the evergreen plants and trees on the journey too. Anthony and I have discussed how they didn't have regular leaves and were special in a different way. Please don't get me going on a Christmas tree - autism analogy just yet. 

The evergreen conversation seemed to go down well until we discussed our own Christmas tree. It's the same one we've had for years. It seems logical to stick with the same tree if you have kids who shy away from change. Even with using the same decorations, our younger son with ASD still has a hyper couple of days after the lounge is made over for Christmas. 

We've also never had a real tree since having the boys for fear of them hurting themselves mostly. It was a real eating hazard with the needles, David in particular is very orally stimulated and was mouthing until he was nearly four years old. 

It was discussing the weather, the trees and the evergreens on the way to school the other day that Anthony explained that he had known already about evergreen trees. "They aren't dead like the other trees because they are pretend trees to start with."

Anthony assumed that every single fir tree, evergreen and holly bush was fake like the ones we had at home. He was absolutely certain of it. After all it made perfect sense given the 'normal' trees lost their leaves in autumn. It was only upon inspection of a few evergreens that he started to listen to me about only some Christmas trees being fake. 

In a way it's strange, I don't think he thinks we have real star or real snow flakes on the tree and he knows these are different in real life. Perhaps it comes down to having been introduced to a 'fake' Christmas tree before a real one. He could be over generalising, a common difficulty in some people with autism, where he thinks all evergreens are fake like our one. It's almost as if he thought real Christmas trees didn't exist. 

So his education continued today, pointing out 'real' evergreens on the way to school. Goodness knows what questions spring will bring in the new year! 

Our blog - All the tree are dead
Our blog - Generalising dog, autism and language 

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