For Day 13 of My Kind of Christmas, it’s our privilege to introduce you to a bunch of incredible humans who’ve been informing our practice and helping us learn over the last 12 months.

So we are asking two of our Autism and Neurodiversity think tank members what constitutes their kind of Christmas. 

So important are the voices of #actuallyautistic people to us as an organisation, our chief executive John Phillipson has partnered with Infinite Autism to form an Autism and Neurodiveristy Think Tank.

Today we speak to two of our members...


Sarah speaks to us about her kind of Christmas

Hi ladies – can you tell us your names?

S:I’m Sarah, ‘the Great and Almighty’ can be added at your discretion!

C: And I’m Clementine.


What would you describe as your best Christmas ever?

S: Best Christmas was two years ago when we stopped all the faff, stripped everything back and expected nothing. It was a massive turnaround for us as a family and it’s now how we do this time of year and it’s our kind of wonderful.

We love Xmas, it’s like National Lampoons outside but just a tree inside. We keep it low-key, lots of walks in our fantastic countryside, learning about the local area.

C: My best Christmas was actually one that didn’t go to plan. Like a lot of people the most challenging part of Christmas has been overcoming my own expectations so when disaster struck, and I was all dressed up and ready to visit family but discovered the car windscreen was damaged beyond repair, I suddenly became aware of how much anxiety I must have been carrying. While I was of course disappointed not to see my children, a weight just fell off me immediately. This was my best Christmas, I had no idea how much anxiety I was carrying or how nice it could be not go through the motions.


Part of the campaign has been about kindness. Why is that important?

S: Kindness is paramount, as without it, we would all be in a very dark place; being kind is the only way to receive it. Go forth and spread that shizzle!!!

C: An example of why kindness is so important – for and from everybody – happened to us during one Christmas lunch when one of us became so overwhelmed that they took off in the middle of the food. They were hurting, and it took kindness to put our own hurt aside to see the day from their perspective. There was a lot of tears from everyone but a lot of love too. It's better to have the person you love safe and happy then everyone sat round the table.

And for each of you, what’s the most challenging parts of Christmas?

S: The most challenging part of Christmas for me, is other people’s unrealistic ideas of a happy time! We don’t do Santa, parties or jingle bells and that’s absolutely fine… we have our own version of happiness! As I’m sure many people do! Keep it real folks!

C: I actually don't look forward to Christmas as it is packed with uncertainty, such as what to gift or feed people, and having visitors in my home is also a challenge. I also find presents very difficult. I don't like surprises or receiving gifts and I worry about buying the wrong present and disappointing the recipient. I'm happy to purchase for people the items they request though!


What would be your ‘kind of Christmas?’

S: ‘My kind of Christmas is’ family, lots of food and the kind of laughing that hurts your cheeks and belly!

C: 'My kind of Christmas' is low key; a chilled-out day with lots of veg and pigs in blankets. I prefer Christmas Eve, preparing the gifts and food as a family and watching Christmas movies.