When you have a child with physical challenges it’s the little things that get you. The challenges you don’t expect or think of, because as someone that can walk, talk and control my hands, there is a lot I take for granted.
Trick-or-treating is the perfect example. Like most other GTA suburbs, our subdivision has about five different models of homes. The one thing they all have in common (other than tiny backyards) are the steps that you need to climb to get to the front door. That doesn’t quite work for our little girl who can’t walk independently, much less climb stairs.
So here are our options:
1. Use the stroller and take her out, carry her to the door and strap her back in when we’re done. (Cumbersome)
2. Carry her in the baby carrier. (Too baby-ish and it will cover her costume).
3. Just carry her from house to house. (A bit backbreaking, but thank God she’s tiny.)
So what’s the best choice? The truth is that I don’t really have an answer, but I’m thinking of making Dilip dress up like a tree so he can wear Syona, who is going to be an owl. (I haven’t told him this yet!)
I know that we also have the choice of not taking Syona out for Halloween or just participating in the accessible and inclusive Halloween parties that pop up around the city. But here’s the thing — I think she can and should participate in Halloween in our neighbourhood. And I know that she doesn’t care how she gets candy (as long as she gets to eat it) but I want her to know that going trick or treating is an option, even if we have to tailor it to work for us. And I figure that the best way to help instill this notion of things being possible is by living this life from the very start.
At some point we won’t be able to carry Syona up and down the steps anymore and we’ll have to figure out another way. So I asked my friend, Cheryl, who blogs about her family and has a daughter, Jillian, who uses a wheelchair. Her older sister, Lauren, and the friends they are trick or treating with are the ones who run up the stairs, ring the doorbell, say trick-or-treat and then point out Jillian who waits down below.
The thing is that right now it’s mostly Syona’s physical challenges that make traditional trick-or-treating something we need to plan out beforehand. But in the world of special needs there are so many things that can make trick-or-treating difficult.
And this year, as your front doorbell rings and you hear the familiar sugar-induced trick-or-treat squeals of youngsters, keep your eyes out for the kids that are hanging back or waiting at the bottom of the steps because they can’t climb up and make sure they are as much a part of this holiday as everyone else. I’ll be doing the same at my house.
Do you help make Halloween inclusive? What are your tips for trick-or-treating with a child that has special needs?