Christmas is a very unpredictable time for Joshua who is six years old and has ASD and sensory issues. Every year brings change and as he grows and develops, so does his needs and behaviour.

"Our Christmas this year started around June, where Joshua became obsessed with the things he wanted and needed for Christmas; his main interests are Lego and Playmobil. The summer holidays were fast approaching and we had planned to go abroad which helped diffuse the Christmas obsession as the constant anxiety of the situation was causing him frequent meltdowns.

However the topic of Christmas soon returned in September and every day the anxiety that Joshua experienced from the playsets, he felt he needed, can became so difficult to deal with. He was having constant meltdowns and simply not understanding time concepts and expectations. The worst part was the toys he wanted were never consistent and would change on a daily basis.

I remember last year telling him that the smoke alarms were the cameras which Santa could see him and how he was behaving. It must have been the worst thing I could have done as every time the TV came on and there was an advert for something, Joshua would say “I want that” he refused to share anything with us that he wanted as he told me that Santa was watching him and knew everything he wanted.

I dreaded Christmas and the thought of not being able to give Joshua the things he thought he wanted and needed.  He had managed to go and see the Santa at his school and received a present -he had a meltdown because it was not on his list.

I am planning to visualise the day for him this year to reduce his anxiety levels in the form of a social story. 

I do find Christmas day particularly hard, but have learnt that we need to celebrate in our own way and make it manageable as a family and not what is expected by others."