Helping Our Families Communicate with Our Autistic Children Mary December 26, 2014 Family Gatherings I have a very large family and to most this would seem like a very good thing, especially with a child that is autistic. Perhaps, you may think with a large family your child will be very familiar with the loud talking, the laughter, and the games. However, this wasn’t true for Justin, at least not in the beginning. In fact, whenever we attended family gatherings in the past, Justin was put in a back room because he could not tolerate the noise. When pictures were taken, there was no Justin. Games being played, no Justin. All kinds of family “fun” and still no Justin. So, after enduring this unfair treatment of Justin during every family gathering, I decided that the problem was not with Justin. The problem was with me. Justin being put in the back room was a bit of relief for him but, in reality, it was isolation. I stopped worrying about Justin being a distraction to others and I decided I would no longer isolate him. I could not expect my family to include him when I did not include him myself. Family gatherings when Justin was younger were a lot tougher than they are now. Justin has become accustomed to all of the loud talking, the laughter, the games and even the photo taking sessions. Once I stopped isolating him and started making him a part of the family activities, it became much easier for him to adjust his surroundings. Justin is now familiar with everyone’s voice, as well as each location where the gathering may be held. Family gatherings are now a fun and special time for myself, as well as for Justin.