Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • Kris

      Depression, Mental Health and Crisis Support   06/04/2017

      Depression, Mental Health and Crisis Support   Depression and other mental health difficulties are common amongst people on the autistic spectrum and their carers.   People who are affected by general mental health difficulties are encouraged to receive and share information, support and advice with other forum members, though it is important to point out that this exchange of information is generally based on personal experience and opinions, and is not a substitute for professional medical help.   There is a list of sources of mental health support here: <a href="http://www.asd-forum.org.uk/forum/index.php?showtopic=18801" target="_blank">Mental Health Resources link</a>   People may experience a more serious crisis with their mental health and need urgent medical assistance and advice. However well intentioned, this is not an area of support that the forum can or should be attempting to offer and we would urge members who are feeling at risk of self-harm or suicide to contact either their own GP/health centre, or if out of hours contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or to call emergency services 999.   We want to reassure members that they have our full support in offering and seeking advice and information on general mental health issues. Members asking for information in order to help a person in their care are seeking to empower both themselves and those they represent, and we would naturally welcome any such dialogue on the forum.   However, any posts which are deemed to contain inference of personal intent to self-harm and/or suicide will be removed from the forum and that person will be contacted via the pm system with advice on where to seek appropriate help.   In addition to the post being removed, if a forum member is deemed to indicate an immediate risk to themselves, and are unable to be contacted via the pm system, the moderating team will take steps to ensure that person's safety. This may involve breaking previous confidentiality agreements and/or contacting the emergency services on that person's behalf.   Sometimes posts referring to self-harm do not indicate an immediate risk, but they may contain material which others find inappropriate or distressing. This type of post will also be removed from the public forum at the moderator's/administrator's discretion, considering the forum user base as a whole.   If any member receives a PM indicating an immediate risk and is not in a position (or does not want) to intervene, they should forward the PM to the moderating team, who will deal with the disclosure in accordance with the above guidelines.   We trust all members will appreciate the reasoning behind these guidelines, and our intention to urge any member struggling with suicidal feelings to seek and receive approproiate support from trained and experienced professional resources.   The forum guidelines have been updated to reflect the above.   Regards,   The mod/admin team
Aeolienne

Boy so terrified of Christmas family couldn't celebrate for four years

Recommended Posts

(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

Edited by Aeolienne
tidy up bullet points

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×