October 30, 2016

Jonathan's Landscape Asperger's syndrome

Jonathan Stewart is an Epic Health Services employee who has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. Jonathan uses art as a means of expression and therapy. Jonathan hopes that his contributions will encourage patients to believe in themselves and strive for their dreams – just like he is doing every day!

Halloween is just around the corner and Jonathan is here to discuss some tips for people with Asperger’s syndrome during this spooky holiday. There are many things that can make Halloween an uncomfortable experience for people with Asperger’s syndrome. Jonathan would like to give us a peek into his world to see what used to bother him about Halloween, and how he’s turned it around into a fun experience.

“Trick-or-Treating was always out of my comfort zone.”

What made Halloween more enjoyable for me, was handing out candy at home with my parents. We would decorate the house, watch movies, eat fun treats and play games. Being able to participate in Halloween from my own home really helped me feel involved, while still in my comfort zone.

“Costumes can make me feel very uncomfortable.”

Scary costumes were never my thing. Spider-Man was always my favorite costume! There are a few important tips to help make children with Asperger’s syndrome comfortable wearing a costume.

  • Let your child pick out their costume. It’s okay to make suggestions but leave the ultimate decision up to them.
  • Make sure the costume allows for plenty of movement. Anything too restrictive could lead to a panic attack.
  • Having a costume with a clear line of sight that doesn’t cover the mouth or drag on the ground will help make your child feel more comfortable.

“Just because I don’t like trick-or-treating doesn’t mean I don’t like Halloween.”

Some of my favorite things about Halloween were the school parties and decorating the house. If your child is scared of costumes, doesn’t like to go door-to-door, or doesn’t like candy, that doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t like Halloween. It’s important to find the aspects they do like and encourage their participation.

  • If they like Jack-O’-Lanterns, but are too young to help carve them, let them draw the face on the pumpkin.
  • If your child prefers to hand out candy at home, let them choose the candy bowl.
  • If they don’t like candy, work with them to find a treat they do like.

Keeping them involved will help make positive memories for future Halloweens.