Wednesday, 30 October 2013

This Hallowe'en, Think before you shun. 
That "TOO OLD TO TRICK OR TREAT" teen or adult may be Autistic

When I was a child in the 70s, kids dressed up and toured the neighbourhood looking for homes shelling out. 
The adults stayed home, handed out candy, and often had a party. 
Teens would TP homes or head out to watch horror movies
"People" say we should return to that. "People" are complaining about older kids and even adults trick or treating. 

Lets talk about that

In the last few years a trend has taken hold. "People" arbitrarily deciding "BLANK AGE" is too old for trick or treating. But is that physical age or developmental age? My son is 20. But he has the development of an 18-month- 2year old child. How do I explain why someone refuses to give him candy on Hallowe'en. Why should I have to explain that?

Holidays and traditions are naturally celebrated differently depending upon a person's age. In the case of Hallowe'en as a child starts to hit puberty (and thus full on peer pressure mode) they no longer want to go door to door, because it's seen as "a baby thing to do". In "the good ole days" people with developmental disabilities were hidden away, or sent to live in institutions. Thankfully, that mindset has changed. There are services and funding and resources so that families are able to care for their children, in their own homes and communities, where they deserve to be. So guess what. They will want to dress up and have fun on Hallowe'en, just like other kids their age. Their DEVELOPMENTAL age. And just like other kids, when they hit that magic pre-teen "I'm not a kid" stage, they will also refuse to go out. 

Why should they be denied the fun shared by their developmental peers? 
Would you stand in front of a 2-year old, while you hold a bowl full of candy, and tell them to leave empty handed? Because that IS what you are doing.  (and its usually said in a very NASTY, often vulgar way)

No typically developing adult will dress up and knock on your door looking for candy. They may join in on the fun, wear a costume while accompanying kids around the neighbourhood, but they will not be trick or treating. Usually an adult with a developmental disability is also accompanied, just as I have accompanied my son many many times.  This is a clear sign to ANYONE that the trick or treater may physically be an adult, but developmentally, they are not. Still, my son and I have faced ignorance, and labels hurled at us that can only be described as hurtful and hateful. 

I no longer take my son out. He wants to go. But can't. Because I won't expose him to the hatred. He gets very excited about Hallowe'en and I do my best to make it fun WITHIN our home. But we should not be forced to do so.  My son, and so many others, should not be denied the simple joy of dressing up and trick or treating, or endure slurs and personal attacks, because others choose to enforce a 'rule' created solely to exclude.

In my home, we have one rule on Hallowe'en. If they are in costume, they get a treat. Simple as that. I urge you to adopt the same rule. Hallowe'en should be about fun, not ignorancee and hatred. 

Together, we can make it a 

 Happy Hallowe'en!


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