To the Mum of the child with autism, who did not dress up for book day.

This morning I saw a few Harry Potter’s, a Red Riding Hood, a bear, a tiger and a teacher and head teacher dressed up as ‘Where’s Wally’. It’s Book Day and EVERYONE is getting in the spirit.


I also saw a few children, who were not dressed up. There was the Granny saying loudly, “Oh Mummy must have forgotten”. There’s a few guilty Mum’s who have a zillion other things to think of, who will rush home, turn the house upside down and return, red faced with a costume.


Other Mum’s may judge the non dressed up. Did they forget? Do they not care? Or maybe they are just thinking (like me) ‘Thank goodness I remembered.’


But then there is the Mum walking into school holding hands with her child, who NEVER does dress up days. The child who hates these different days… The child who struggles with a ‘normal’ school day and today fills him with anxiety and dread.


This Mum has tried EVERYTHING! This Mum is actually really pleased her son will wear the uniform and she really hates these days too. This Mum knows how her son is feeling. She feels it with him. This Mum and this son are actually being incredibly brave.


They say ‘Never judge a book by the cover’.


Maybe the child, who did not dress up is an original, a non conformer.


Maybe the child, who did not dress up is the one with the potential to make our world better.


To that Mum of that child, who did not dress up for book day I’d like to say…


I think YOU are doing the most amazing job and in the scheme of things dressing up and silly judgements don’t matter.


Be proud of yourself.


Be proud of your child.


Walk tall.


You may not have taken Harry Potter to school this morning, but you may just have dropped off the bravest and most magical child in the whole school.



7 Thoughts on “To the Mum of the child with autism, who did not dress up for book day.

  1. You said it all hats off to those amazing mums and carers of those beautiful children

  2. Awesome blog Adele!

    My thoughts are parents on a low income and feeling pressured to buy or make costumes.

    Also, is there a real impact on children’s literacy? Not, sure if there has ever been any research done, on World Book Day.

    Those, who know me, know that I do love to have fun!! So, I am not being a ‘party popper!’

    • adele on March 5, 2016 at 9:02 am said:

      Thank you Laura.
      It’s great to see the children dressed up and enjoying themselves, but it can be a huge pressure on some children and their parents. I hope this blog will spread a little awareness about what’s it’s like for these children. We celebrated WBD in a simple way in our Special School by sharing and enjoying books. I don’t think you are being a ‘party pooper’ at all.

  3. Paul on March 4, 2016 at 7:50 am said:

    What a great article. I’m so proud of our own unique little boy, who did manage to dress up for WBD and even put up with a tail and whiskers all day! Every day is a challenge with ASD, but each step forward is worth all the effort.

    • adele on March 5, 2016 at 10:47 am said:

      Thank you Paul and well done to you little man for dressing up. You are so right. Seemingly small steps can be momentous achievements for children with sensory issues or autism, but so worth every effort when they see what they CAN achieve :-)

  4. Sophie on March 4, 2016 at 6:48 pm said:

    One of the autistic children in my class will always want to opt out of an activity if it is new or different to the norm. Obviously if it is going to cause unnecessary stress and difficulty if they join in then the solution is to avoid it completely, but I think there is something to be said for encouraging children to step out of their comfort zones and try something new – even if it isn’t inkeeping with their routines. If they manage to do it, then barriers can be broken and fears overcome!

    • adele on March 5, 2016 at 9:12 am said:

      I agree that students should be encouraged to step out of their comfort zone and try something new, but some teachers and parents don’t know just how difficult this can be or the anxiety/ knock on effect it can have at home.
      Awareness is the starting point, but this must also come with practical support. We do this through having a good communication with parents and offering ways to really help the child in the build up to a ‘different day’.
      The child does not have to arrive dressed up. They might bring clothes in a bag. This removes the pressure from the parent, but allows the child to change their mind and the teacher to provide school support such as social stories, 5 point scales and schedules.
      BUT there are parents who do not see any of this and will simply judge the child who is not dressed up and this can be hurtful to parents, who are doing such an amazing job. Thorough writing this blog maybe some of these other parents will be aware of invisible disabilities and less quick to judge.

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