Well Christmas is over for 2014 and I've been able to reflect on how far we have come over the last fourteen years.
We've just returned from a week away in Scotland. It's the first time since Google was born that we've been away at Christmas. He knew where were going but he wasn't looking to the change in routine. Even the promise of a trip to see The Hobbit failed to convince him.
As I've discovered on previous trips away, all the sensory difficulties seemed to melt away.Although he took his ear defenders as props, Google never needed them.He ate plenty of food, swam, played Pool and generally participated in the family banter.
As is usual on holiday, we had one 'sick day' when the anxiety and anticipation got too much and he didn't feel well but that was hardly surprising as he'd managed to endure the hoards of Christmas shoppersin Glasgow, together with the bombardment of carols and twinkly lights.In fact, to my surprise he later managed to endure an hour in the boxing day sales without any complaint or melt down and just walked quietly to the doors of the shop when it proved too much.
None of these 'steps forward' have been 'taught' through 'forcing' him 'to have a go'. Quite the opposite in fact. We have listened to him, watched his body language and respected his anxiety and fear. In allowing him to be himself Google has learned to trust us with his fear and knows that we will take him seriously.
It has been one of the best Christmases we have had and we came back feeling really relaxed and ready to face the world again!