Christmas as Self-Advocacy

Sam was diagnosed in November 2000. About 3 weeks before Nathan was born. So I hope that shock plus pregnancy hormones explains the terrible thing I did that Christmas.

I bought everything. I hoped if we could get him to play with the right toys he would work his way out of autism. I was terrified and I spent money like I was. I bought probably 20 different wooden train engines and track. Who knows what else I bought? I don't remember.

It took me years to quit buying gifts with the hope that I could fix him (and then his baby brother.) The right learning toy, the right interaction. And, of course, the right supplements, the right diet, the right behavior program.

Fast forward a few years. Sam is always easy to buy for. He has very specific interests, and they change on a slow basis. So I don't run out of things to buy him and it is always easy to figure out. Nathan, not so much. He was hyperactive, random, explored things by breaking them and chewing them into small choke-able pieces. He couldn't stay with any task for more than a minute. Figuring out what to buy for him was impossible. We wound up buying him mostly candy we knew he liked, because at least then we knew that it was SUPPOSED to be chewed and it would disappear and not have to be swept up with gloves later.

So it is with excitement this year that I have things that I can buy for Nathan. More than one. There are things on his wishlist on Amazon. And they aren't candy. They aren't age-appropriate. But they are things I think he will like. After eleven years, it seems like a miracle.

My next dream (because isn't there always a new hope, whenever the last one is met) is that he adds to his wishlist himself. That he tells us what he wants.

Because getting what you want is the ultimate in self-advocacy.


  1. I have done exactly the same thing - always trying to find the perfect cause and effect toy and anything that might possibly break through and help my son. Over the last few years I have finally calmed down. Still trying to help him but being more logical about it all.


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