‘My name is Cooper. I have autism and am nonverbal, but I still LOVE CANDY! TRICK-OR-TREAT.’

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I love this reminder: With Halloween upon us, please keep in mind, a lot of little people will be visiting your home. Be accepting. The child who is grabbing more than one piece of candy may have poor fine motor skills. The child who takes forever to pick out one piece of candy may have motor planning issues. The child who does not say trick or treat or thank you may be non-verbal. The child who looks disappointed when they see your bowl might have allergies. The child who isn’t wearing a costume at all might have a sensory issue (SPD) or autism.

Be nice. Be patient. It’s everyone’s Halloween!

Last year Cooper made it to exactly three houses before he pushed a pumpkin off a deck and tried to bust into the house to watch TV. He also walked backwards the whole time. Yes, backwards. We were quite the sight. The year before that he made it to one house before he ran down the road, darted, rolled, cried and head hit because the Wi-Fi on his Kindle didn’t work. He didn’t wear a costume the year before that…too itchy. This year we are hoping for four houses, lots of fun and smiles, and time to enjoy both of our boys. And that he can use his talker to communicate. Cooper wants to go, and we would never deny him the opportunity. But…it takes A LOT of preparation on our part and a lot of courage and patience on his part.

Be patient friends. Kiddos like Super Cooper don’t know ‘what’ they are supposed to do or ‘why’ they are even doing it. Trick-or-treating is strange in general. Then add in costumes, sugar, people, noises, excitement and a crazy brother and the whole situation gets escalated quickly. If you see me, know that I am sweating buckets and trying to hold it together. We love smiles and understanding and when you say hi!”

Finding Cooper’s Voice

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by KT Swenson of Finding Cooper’s Voice. The article originally appeared here. Follow Finding Cooper’s Voice on Instagram here.  Submit your story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.

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