Aiden, A Story of Costumes and Love

I would like to introduce you to Aiden. This little boy is one of the most interesting and amazing kids I have came across on this journey. And his mother shared his story in a way that made me laugh and cry. Read his story. You will fall in love.


Aiden was diagnosed with Autism, severe ADHD, a sleep disorder, and OCD when he was four years old.  It was a long journey to that diagnosis and I somehow believed that once we had a confirmed diagnosis everything would be better.  It wasn’t.  Nothing changed.  We just continue to do what we always have.  Therapies, tears, meltdowns, prayers, more therapy, ups, downs, progress and regression.  I imagine every special needs family goes through the same cycle of emotions.  But through all of it I continue to realize what an amazing person Aiden is.  That’s right.  A person.  Not a diagnosis.  If you’re lucky enough to get close to a child with autism then you know how deep they love.  How creative they are.  How smart they must be to change the world around them so that they can feel comfortable and happy.

One way that Aiden has always done this is through play.  He’s 12 years old now and this continues to be a major part of who he is and what makes him happy.  He can take something mundane and transform it into something that fits perfectly into his world.  He loves making things that help him become connected to what he is playing over and over in his mind.  It would be like downloading your favorite song to play over and over because you love it so much and its stuck in your head.  Eventually you will get tired of the song and move on, but until that happens you are going to listen to it.  This is how Aiden functions.

Only, instead of downloading a song he takes to drawing on the walls, cutting up clothes, sheets, paper, toys, using my makeup to draw on himself.  Whatever it takes to convert fully into character, you better believe he is going to do it.

An Example of Aiden’s Play:

One day I turned the corner in the hallway to find Aiden’s freshly painted door scribbled with the color blue.  I really had to calm myself and figure out why in the world he thought it was okay to color his bedroom door.  After a closer look I could see what looked like a little box thing on the door frame. Next, Aiden grabbed a credit card out of my husband’s wallet and began swiping it through that little box.  He then starts acting out a scene from Monster’s Inc.  At that point there was no need to ask him why he had done it.  I just took the credit card and switched it out with an old gift card.  He played that scene on repeat for days and days.  He finally moved on to something else but to this day his door is still blue!  At this point I think it just gives the house character so I will leave it up until he wants it gone. Every door downstairs has a red dot colored in the center too. 

Costumes-A Way to Escape

So, obviously you can tell that Aiden has a flare for dramatics. And what scene would be complete without the perfect costume.  This is where Aiden shines.  I can’t really remember a time when he didn’t want to be in costume.  If I can’t find a costume to buy he goes through our house searching for random items to piece together so he can create whatever it is that he can’t live without.  Sometimes he takes it too far and ends up cutting up his clothes or sheets.  I try to be understanding when he does things like this, but I’m human and sometimes he experiences my wrath.  If I said I was always an understanding mother you know I would be lying!  Sometimes you can’t help but lose your cool.

Pretending and playing in costumes is a comfortable way for Aiden to distance himself from reality.  He uses it for play but he also uses it to escape social situations.  He doesn’t do this on purpose; It’s just his instinct to run away into his own world because he doesn’t know what to do when he’s put in a situation where “normal” conversation is the expectation.  He has gotten better about this but it’s still a struggle.

Sharknado phase…I had to make this because, well, Aiden and spray paint.

One of the biggest problems with the way Aiden plays and pretends is that he isn’t 5 years old anymore.  He is 12 going on 13 and there aren’t too many 12 year olds running around in costumes all day.  In his mind this is still a perfectly acceptable way to play.  He can’t understand when his cousin’s come over, why they don’t think its fun to dress up and pretend.  They have grown past that and moved on to more age appropriate activities while Aiden is still stuck at about 7 years old.

I do try to tell Aiden that it’s not appropriate to pretend when he is in a public place.  People think it’s weird and he hates to be called weird, which seems to be the choice word most kids use to describe him.  While I don’t mind the pretending it’s my job to teach him how to function in this world.  People are mean and the world does not care that he has autism.  It’s his own personal battle that he will fight every single day.  He will never be able to look at the world and learn how to act like everyone else.  He is who he is.

On the flip side of this I struggle because, to me, it’s just a part of his awesome personality.  He is such a unique individual and I worry about trying to make him conform to a mold he will never fit into.  I feel like that will lead him to being disappointed and depressed about just being who he is.  Ugh!  It is so hard to know what’s right.  I pray constantly that the decisions I am making for him are the right ones.  My absolute biggest fear in life is failing my children…but I’m sure that is true for every parent.

A Mother’s Message

I hope by reading this you can see that I am just feeling my way through this in the dark.  The only thing I know that I can do for sure is to love him.  And I do!!  I might have to sneak up, tackle him and hold him down to get a hug, but he’s going to get it.  I love all of his little quirks, and noises, and random thoughts.  He makes our world crazy, and hectic, and I’m pretty sure my husband and I have both lost a good amount of our hair.  But if Aiden never understands anything else in this world, I promise you he will NEVER doubt how much he is loved. He’s awesome, wonderful, and has the most loving spirit.  

Aiden’s Costumes

We didn’t have a bow tie just lying around our house so he used one of Allie’s hair bows…GENIUS.


Penguin phase…waddled in this outfit that entire afternoon.


Surfs Up movie phase…ripped out the second floor of my daughters dollhouse and used a toy to shave it down like a surfboard.


Diary Of A Wimpy Kid


One of my all time favorite phases…Dirk Nowitzki..he told his sister if she was gonna be in the picture she had to be his #1 fan


Hump day camel phase…this lasted a while..he repeated it over and over and over..he loves insurance commercials!


Beyblade phase…was obsessed for about an entire year! Very happy to move on from this one.


Artist phase..this comes and goes..we also went through a Bob Ross obsession


Ratatouille phase..paper towels and scotch tape make a perfect chef hat.

Most current obsession…Jesus. He took the wooden rod out of his closet to make a staff to go with this costume from an Easter play a couple years ago.

(This beautiful story and all of the photos were shared with me by Aiden’s mom, Michalee Hall.)

Prev post: Putting Your Mask On FirstNext post: Understanding The Entire Spectrum Of Autism

Related posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About Me
About Me

Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!


Follow my YouTube Channel
Follow my YouTube Channel

When my son was first diagnosed with autism no one was talking about it. Autism was hidden. I vow to change that.

Most Popular
Sign up for Finding Cooper's Voice
* = required field

powered by MailChimp!