The holidays can be fun but they can also be a little chaotic between routine changes, days off from school, and friends and family gatherings. Let’s not forget the cooking, baking, and decorating that might come along with the holiday season. This time could also mean that individuals with autism need to prepare in advance for these changes. Knowing what to expect can help, so they enjoy their time during the holidays as well!
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What can you do to prepare for the holiday when you have a child with autism?
Talk About Holidays
Talk with your child about the holiday(s) you celebrate in the best way for them to understand. You can use social stories, visuals, books, or anything else that will help your child. You can talk about each holiday, what they mean, how your family celebrates them, and any tradition(s) your family may have.
Explain Changes to Routines
Explain the routine changes in a way that best meets your child’s needs. Remember to explain days off from school, what they will do instead, and any other changes that will take place. You can use a calendar to help by adding the changes using words, visuals, or both.
Go Over Sensory
Go over sensory areas that may be different during this time. You can go over new and different smells, tastes, sounds, and textures. It may also be a good idea to go over the foods that will be served and decorations they might see. You can involve your child when you’re prepping or decorating if that is something they enjoy.
Get Familiar with Visitors
Look at pictures, talk to, or video call friends and family who may be joining you and your family for the holidays. This way your child knows who to expect, what they look like, and their names.
Have a Quiet Space
It can be overwhelming during this time of year. Having a quiet space your child can go to can help with all of these changes. Let your child know about the quiet space and how they can let you know they will be going there. This can allow your child to interact and be a part of the festivities, but also have a space to unwind and decompress if needed.
Have a safe and joyous holiday season!
Contact us to help with this year’s holiday prep.