If you are a parent of a child with autism, then you already know that people in the world can say some very awful things to your child. While you try your best to reinforce the idea that they are an awesome person, it always helps when others reinforce your message.

Special Santa Encounter

That is exactly what happened when Naomi took her five year old son Landon Johnson to see Santa last year. After the family of five had their picture taken with Santa, the child rushed back to tell Santa that he had autism because he was worried that Santa would place him on the naughty list because of the disease. Landon has a very hard time controlling his behavior because of the disease. Santa quickly assured Landon that it was OK to be himself.

Mother’s Reaction to Santa

A year later, Naomi is still thankful for what Santa did for her son saying on her Facebook page, “Last year, an amazing man, a stranger to us, gave my child the most precious and amazing gift ever, a reminder that it is ok to be who you are. That Landon is perfect the way he is and he is not a naughty child. This is something I have always told Landon, but for it to come from someone as magical as Santa, amplified the meaning of my words to a million percent. “

Landon’s Year

The year that is ending has not been an easy one for Landon. An educational team met after Landon had many outbursts at school. While the team recommended that Landon be placed in a special program, the mother fought with the team. For now, Landon is going to school half-days as his body adjusts to a new medicine. It is the family’s hope that Landon can continue in the school which he has attended since he was two years old. The mother is not against him being reassigned if it is in his best interest but wants Landon to be comfortable at school.

Its OK to be a Square Peg in a Round World

One thing we know for sure is that when you have Santa and a caring family on your side it is, as his mother said , “OK to be a square peg in a round world.” Landon is a very special young man who loves to investigate science, especially insects. He is actively collecting children’s books in his neighborhood and sending them to children’s hospitals. He is doing better on the new medicine as the team works to find the right dosage.

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Like Santa, we can promise to give each other that it is OK for everyone to be themselves during the new year. If you are a parent, start by pledging to talk about your child’s personalities and not their accomplishments. Find a way to step in and help the family with a child with special needs. Avoid using clichés or trying to assure the parent that everything will be fine. Be thankful for each person’s uniqueness. Find a way to let the parent know that they are loved.

If we all promise to do these things, then everyone can enjoy the magic of Christmas throughout the year.

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