Please remember when you are with family today, tomorrow or anytime - that the holidays and excitement of Christmas and presents aren't easy for everyone.
For some, missing a lost loved one makes this time of year difficult. For some, a disability (hidden or obvious) makes these times difficult.
Please be extra understanding. We all cope, we all celebrate, we all make it through in our own way.
Sometimes, tradition needs changed to include everyone. The pressure of everyone watching you open a present, or everyone opening in the same room, is too much. Sometimes we all need a moment or two away somewhere quiet. Sometimes we need to jump, flap, and squeal to meet the needs of our bodies.
Sometimes, the excitement and anxiousness - or being somewhere that isn't home or routine - leads to meltdowns. Hitting, spitting, biting, swearing - doesn't necessarily mean someone is not well behaved, sometimes it means "I need out" and that's the only way their overwhelmed mind can get that message out.
I know you love your family members - I also know it's easy to be frustrated by behaviors of others. I know for some, you are dating or married into the family of someone special and that makes it even easier to judge the child and the parent. Don't be that person.
This holiday season, instead of judging or criticizing or saying how you could do it better (to the parent or behind their back) - remember, you haven't raised this child from day one (or at all), you don't walk in our shoes, each person is unique and how their disability (or grief) affects them is individualized.
When you have a negative feeling towards someone - it can be felt, especially by our very special children. Don't make family gatherings harder for them, or their parents/caregivers than need be.
Be supportive. Do or say something nice. Give them space.
This holiday season and every day ~ find the understanding in your heart instead of the glare in your eye.
To learn more about Fragile X Syndrome please visit the National Fragile X Foundation's website.
*Fragile X is the leading cause of inherited intellectual disability and the leading known genetic cause of Autism.