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  1. (Not written by me) ‘My son was so terrified of Christmas we couldn’t celebrate it for four years’: Mother had to hide presents and decorations due to her little boy’s unusual phobia Eight-year-old Keiran Liptrot would panic and cry whenever he saw Santa or anything Christmas-related By Nilufer Atik His phobia was first seen when he was a baby and was taken to a Christmas play Finally, the family can now celebrate Christmas properly It’s a date in the calendar most children look forward to and get excited about. But for eight year-old Keiran Liptrot, Christmas Day wasn’t a time for joy and celebration. In fact, it was his worst nightmare come true. He dreaded the decorations and bright lights that lit up the streets and shops everywhere, couldn’t bear the sounds of festive music blaring out from the radio and the thought of sitting on Santa’s lap would literally send him running for the nearest exit. It meant that for years his mother Janet, 40, had to ‘hide’ Christmas from her son and make sure her other children Damon, now 22, James, 17, Alizee, 16, and Franny, 11, did the same. “We couldn’t have a tree as that would have freaked Keiran out,” Janet told i. “Decorations were a no-no too as he would just pull them down or run away in fear. “Even with presents I’d have to make sure his weren’t wrapped, and put the others’ gifts somewhere he couldn’t see them as he couldn’t stand looking at the wrapping paper.” Tears at the grotto Keiran’s phobia started when he was a baby and Janet would take him along to Christmas plays his older siblings were in or grottoes they wanted to go to. “He would start crying loudly every time we took him past a church hall in his pram or anywhere near a grotto,” Janet recalled. “I couldn’t understand it.” By the age of two Keiran also refused to let her put up a Christmas tree, pushing it over or refusing to enter the room if she tried. “He would get so upset and anxious I couldn’t stand seeing him like that, so, eventually, I gave each of the other kids tiny trees to put in their bedrooms instead and stopped bothering with decorations. “I knew it wasn’t fair on them but Keiran would be in tears otherwise. He seemed genuinely afraid which broke my heart.” ‘Terror in his eyes’ When Keiran was almost three, Janet tried persuading him to visit Santa in the hope that it might help him beat his phobia. “We’d all travelled down to London and his cousin was with us too,” she explained. “As he was a bit older and liked his cousin, I thought he might not be so bad. “When we arrived at the grotto she sat on Santa’s knee smiling and chatting while Keiran just stood next to them completely still. He forced himself to stay but I could see the terror in his eyes.” Keiran had begun displaying other signs that all was not well too. If things were placed on a shelf he would push them off, or if the table was set for dinner, he would get anxious and sweep the plates away. “I noticed that he liked things in a certain order too and would only eat foods that were beige,” said Janet. She took him to the doctors who referred him to a specialist for tests. The specialist confirmed he had autism and gave Janet some information on the condition. First proper Christmas He explained that it was a developmental disorder characterised by difficulties with social interaction and communication, and restricted and repetitive behaviour, and that parents usually noticed signs during the first two or three years of their child’s life. “It did make sense,” said Janet. “But it still didn’t really explain the Christmas thing.” After seeking advice from the National Autistic Society, Janet was able to manage Keiran’s condition better and began gradually exposing him to the things he feared to get him more used to them. “I started by giving him a toy reindeer one year and then a little Santa figurine the next and gradually he started paying with them,” Janet said. By the age of six, Keiran was even able to go and visit Santa in person, although he still wasn’t comfortable sitting on his lap. “I don’t think he trusted Santa because he’d asked for a football kit for Christmas and got a small toy car at the grotto which made him dubious!” she added. Last year, the family had their first proper Christmas tree with all their presents wrapped nicely, including Keiran’s, and scattered around it. “Keiran loved it,” said Janet. “This time, he was so excited about Christmas Day he didn’t sleep the night before and wouldn’t stop chatting about presents and Santa. Before, he’d be up all night with anxiety. It was wonderful seeing him so animated because he was happy instead.” The Liptrots are looking forward to 25 December this year and already have their decorations up. “It’s so nice not to hide Christmas away any more and to see Keiran enjoying the day with the family. It took a long time to get him over his phobia, but we got there in the end.” A spokesperson for the National Autistic Society said: “Christmas can be a wonderful time, but the changes to routine, sensory overload from new smells, lights and different food can make it a challenge for autistic people. “Parents know how to adapt Christmas celebrations so it’s right for their child and Janet did the right thing by gradually introducing Kieran to Christmas at his own pace. It’s great to hear that Kieran, Janet and the rest of their family will be enjoying the festive season, instead of worrying about it.” Source: iNews
  2. RiRi

    Gifts for Christmas

    What gifts will you be giving people this year?
  3. Admiral Buzzard

    Ultimate Christmas Playlist

    What are your favourite Christmas songs? We will whittle it down to 20, and then choose an asperclick top 10!
  4. I know it's bad and I'm not endorsing or recommending actions here. Maybe I'm just bored. I need a cigarette I know that much and I don't have any. I haven't posted on here in a while. I'm stuck indoors as my credit card company is charging me loads and I struggle to pay it off with dole payments. Anyway that's a different thing. I just feel like I have this whole world of action inside me and I can't do anything with it. I'm thinking of buying a bike for my birthday as that would enable me to go out and not cost anything. I'm having some frustrations building lasting regular communications and relationships on the internet. People seem to just stop after a while. I don't have much to talk about in my life as every day is the same really. I'm gonna be 30 in April and that bothers me. I'm trying to walk the line between exposure and privacy. I'd like to make YouTube vids but not be in them...or be in them rarely. Maybe by drawing cartoons in them I dunno. I really do like being mysterious lol. I think I'm gonna go downstairs and pour myself a brandy right now. That's what I got for Christmas. Hope people had a nice Christmas by the way. I got brandy and hideous days of the week socks and chocolate truffles which I ate rather quickly. It's boredom really. It's all boredom. Whoops I've posted this in the wrong section I think....sorry.
  5. ....That's it. That's all. Material gifts or even cold hard cash are meaningless to me, unless I can have that. Everyone's asking me what I want for Christmas now (as if I didn't have enough to worry about) but if I told them, they wouldn't be able to get it for me anyhow. I just want everyone to be happy, and I feel as if the only way that can happen is if I either get "all fixed," or if I'm just not here anymore. My therapist isn't here anymore, and my psychiatrist never cared about me....she just heaps empty praise on me so I'll be okay with her pumping me full of the drugs that aren't even working anymore and just give me horrible NC-17-rated nightmares. I wear a DNR wristband all the time now...it's like another one of my comfort items. So yeah, that's all I want for Christmas, and all I wanted last year, and the year before; is to just be normal. But I know it won't happen.
  6. Little Pink Coupe

    New hoodie

    Does anyone have a favorite article of clothing (such as a hat, a scarf, or in my case, a hoodie) as a comfort item? If you do, have you ever had someone close to you suggest that you either replace it with a new one, or offer to get one for you for Christmas or your birthday? If yes, how did you react? The reason why I ask is because my stepmom told me that she was getting me a new hoodie for Christmas, to replace the one I always wear. My favorite hoodie was given to me by my favorite aunt, is lime green, and has the lettering "University of Minnesota" on it. It has knots in the drawstrings and holes in the sleeve cuffs that I've "stimmed into" it over the years. My aunt gave it to me in about 2010, and it's been my favorite one since then. It's special to me since my aunt gave it to me, and because it's nice and loose-fitting, and has a big pocket in the front that I can fit stim/fidget toys, my MP3 player, and a small plushie into. It was as if my aunt knew exactly what I needed to feel safe when she was picking it out for me. It also feels nice both inside and out. I was airsick one time on a plane and felt better when I cuddled it against my face, and the inner fabric has a nice, comfortable "nappy" feeling against my skin, rather than feeling all soft and ticklish on the inside, like jellyfish or eels rubbing against my skin. Best of all, wearing it just makes me feel safe...I like to pretend it's my aunt hugging me when I wear it. My stepmom's letting me pick out the new one myself, if I want to, and even I realize at this point that my hoodie is so full of holes, runs and stains from my various adventures that I'm beginning to look like a hobo in it, but it's still going to be an adjustment. I still plan to keep my old hoodie, even if I do get a new one. Any words of encouragement would be appreciated. Happy Holidays.
  7. How are you when showing gratitude when receiving gifts at times like your birthday and at Christmas? Do you always say thank you for the gifts you get? Or is it something you always mean to do but never get round to doing and want to do better this year? And what about those guilt-invoking times when you receive something mega from a friend you only got a small token gesture for, or worst still nothing at all?!? Do you pepper them with kisses flinging your arms round them and thank them to the ends of the Earth or do you disappear for a time while you come up with a plan to pay them back some how? And what about those times someone buys you something you don't like? Do you tell them you hate it? Or do you smile appreciatively and thank them for such a marvellous gift?
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