‘Twas the Night Before… YIKES!

This one has been floating around the interwebs for quite a while now, but since it’s that time of year, it’s making its rounds again. I really wish it would stop.

Autism Night Before Christmas

written in 2008 by Cindy Waeltermann, founder of the organization Autism Link.

(My commentary in bold.)

Twas the Night Before Christmas
And all through the house
The creatures were stirring
Yes, even the mouse

(Look, I get what you’re trying to do, but you basically just called your entire family “creatures” whether you meant to or not. Also, I’m pretty sure non-Autistic children are awake and excited for Santa, too.)

We tried melatonin (May cause night terrors, it’s in the side effects. I hope you’ve got a licensed pediatrician advising about dosages and medication interactions.)
And gave a hot bath (hopefully you’d do that with a non-Autistic child, too?)
But the holiday jitters (happen to all kids regardless of neurotype)
They always distract

The children were finally
All nestled in bed (again, ALL kids, not just Autistic kids)
When nightmares of terror
Ran through my OWN head (stressed out parents are also a Thing regardless of their children’s neurotypes)

Did I get the right gift
The right color
And style
Would there be a tantrum (do you mean a meltdown caused by difficulty regulating emotions caused by our neurology?)
Or even, maybe, a smile? (A genuine smile, or do you care if your child feels like they must pretend in order to please you?)

Our relatives come (it’s a pandemic this year, they probably shouldn’t)
But they don’t understand
The pleasure he gets
Just from flapping his hands. (Why don’t they understand? Have you not talked with them about your child’s needs?)

“He needs discipline,” they say
“Just a well-needed smack,
You must learn to parent…”
And on goes the attack

(If they feel that way about your child and say those things around him, WHY are you even inviting them over?)

We smile and nod (you should ask them to leave.)
Because we know deep inside
The argument is moot (it’s not moot. This is how you’re allowing people to treat your family in your own house.)
Let them all take a side (if they’re not on YOUR CHILD’S side they shouldn’t be around your child. Period.)

We know what it’s like
To live with the spectrum (you don’t live “with the spectrum” you live with an Autistic individual)
The struggles and triumphs
Achievements, regressions… (we don’t actually have regressions in the sense that our autism gets worse. What actually happens is the non-Autistic people in our lives take notice of our struggling. For once.)

But what they don’t know
And what they don’t see
Is the joy that we feel
Over simplicity

(Not sure if you’re aware, but you’re completely off format here. Part of doing a parody is keeping up with the rhythm and cadence of the original poem.)

He said “hello” (speech isn’t the only method of communication. AAC devices, sign language, or a simple wave for “hello” are all valid.)
He ate something green! (Food related sensory issues are *real*, please don’t make light of something you don’t personally experience)
He told his first lie! (Strange flex but ok)
He did not cause a scene! (If you’re talking about meltdowns again, this is ableist and disgusting. You should be worried about your child’s distress in that situation instead of wondering what other people think about YOU because of it.)

He peed on the potty (TMI does your child get no privacy at all?)
Who cares if he’s ten, (I hope his peers never see this)
He stopped saying the same thing
Again and again! (Vocal stims and echolalia are harmless.)


(of a person) deal effectively with something difficult.

"his ability to cope with stress"
Definition of cope

(Cope: verb (of a person) deal effectively with something difficult.”his ability to cope with stress”

Others don’t realize
Just how we can cope (yikes, see definition above)
How we bravely hang on
At the end of our rope (double yikes, see definition below)

Meaning of Idiom ‘At the End of Your (or one’s) Rope

To be at the end of your rope means that you have reached the limit of your patience, resources, abilities, energy, etc. and so are unable to deal with a situation any longer.
Meaning of “at the end of your rope”

Meaning of Idiom ‘At the End of Your (or one’s) Rope

To be at the end of your rope means that you have reached the limit of your patience, resources, abilities, energy, etc. and so are unable to deal with a situation any longer.

(Might I suggest finding a licensed and qualified therapist or counselor in your area? If you’re truly that stressed, please get some help for your family’s sake.)

But what they don’t see
Is the joy we can’t hide
When our children with autism (The Autistic Community overwhelmingly prefers identity-first language. We’re Autistic, not “with Autism”)
Make the tiniest stride

We may look at others
Without the problems we face (Autistic family members are problems? Ouch.)
With jealousy, hatred
Or even distaste, (therapy, seriously. Get some.)

But what they don’t know
Nor sometimes do we
Is that children with autism (Autistic children)
Bring simplicity. (Now you’re just talking in circles, you JUST got done saying what a bother and burden we are)

We don’t get excited
Over expensive things
We jump for joy
With the progress work brings

(Honestly don’t even know what to say here. The ableism is gross and you’re still off the cadence of the original poem.)

Children with autism (Autistic children. The rest of this verse is just word salad. Did Yoda take over?)
Try hard every day
That they make us proud
More than words can say.

They work even harder
Than you or I
To achieve something small
To reach a star in the sky

(Uh, what? I…. um… this one’s so bad I’m speechless. Good job.)

So to those who don’t get it
Or can’t get a clue
Take a walk in my shoes
And I’ll assure you

(YOUR shoes? What about your child’s? He’s the Autistic person here. He’s the one struggling. You’re just watching. Judging by this poem, you’re probably making things harder for him, actually.)

That even 10 minutes
Into the walk
You’ll look at me
With respect, even shock.

(Oh I just can’t even anymore!)

You will realize
What it is I go through
And the next time you judge
I can assure you

That you won’t say a thing
You’ll be quiet and learn,
Like the years that I did
When the tables were turned……


(Does he even talk to you anymore? It’s been twelve years. I hope he’s got a voice of his own now, whether it’s spoken words or AAC or whatever works for him. He deserves a chance to tell his own story.)

Now is the time on Sprockets when we violently expel the contents of our stomachs in disgust.


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