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Christmas stories: Kevin and Andy

"The only thing that will really help Andy at the moment is a return to normality - even if it’s a different normal to the one we had before."

Kevin Chapman, YouTuber and parent to Andy, who is autistic.

This year has been very different, due to the impact of coronavirus. As a charity, we want you to know that you are not alone. Visit our coronavirus pages for tips, advice, and support.

We caught up with YouTuber Kevin Chapman, and his teenage son Andy, who is autistic. They chatted to us about what they like most and least about Christmas, coping with routine changes, and how they’ll be celebrating this year.

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The biggest impact is the need for routine - Andy always needs to know what he’s doing, when he’s doing it, who with, etc. He thrives when he gets into a regular routine, knowing that certain days and times are for certain things. It allows his anxiety to reduce to a level where he can actually enjoy himself, which he struggles to do on days without routine.

Andy always needs to know what he’s doing, when he’s doing it, who with, etc. He thrives when he gets into a regular routine.

Yes. Presents and Santa.


What is Christmas like at your house?

We like to get stuck into our presents first thing, before we’ve even started on food prep. Then everyone can enjoy their new stuff while we blast out Christmas songs and make dinner. After dinner we’ll usually have a new board game to play.

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Over the years, we’ve learned that Christmas doesn’t need to be done all in one day. Family visits can be spread over the week (or however long we’re allowed this year)*, presents don’t need to be opened all at once, and it doesn’t matter if you don’t get everything done that you had planned.  

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Not really. Constantly changing rules and uncertainty is a huge problem for Andy. The only thing that will really help him at the moment is a return to normality - even if it’s a different normal to the one we had before.

The only thing that will really help Andy at the moment is a return to normality - even if it’s a different normal to the one we had before.