Tips for a Happy Autism Christmas
Christmas can be a challenging time of the year for many of us for different reasons. It can be busy with all the hustle and bustle, parties, graduations, get togethers, etc. It can be sad and nostalgic as we remember past Christmas’ and loved ones we’ve lost over the years.
It can be expensive and difficult to provide and make everyone happy.
For children on the autism spectrum, the lead up to Christmas, and Christmas Day itself, can be really difficult and confusing. There are often many different events and catch ups in the month of December which can throw out the normal routine. Social scenes are not ideal for those on the spectrum, they can cause anxiety resulting in meltdowns. Try to pick and choose what you can successfully achieve, look for autism friendly events, and don’t try to do it all and be everything to everyone.
Christmas Day can be so much fun for some people, but for someone with ASD it can be completely overwhelming. There are presents, different types of food, eating a large meal at lunchtime, relatives you may only see once a year, going from one house to another for lunch here and dinner there. It is noisy and chaotic.
So, how can we help to set the day up for success? Here are a few tips that might help you and your family this Christmas.
Tip 1. Be reasonable with your expectations
Children with autism like to have fun, but they also need their quiet time too. Make sure your child has a quiet space where they feel comfortable to retreat to if they start to feel overwhelmed. Don’t expect them to be involved in all of the festive activities throughout the day.
Tip 2. Create a social story
In line with Tip 1, social stories can be a fun way of helping the child to prepare for what they might encounter throughout the day.
Tip 3. Limit the hustle and bustle
Where possible, try to make your day not too busy and limit the amount of people you will be seeing in the one day. Sometimes it’s easier to stay at home and have the family come to you so your child will always have their own bedroom to retreat to if need be. Christmas Day can be noisy, the less people and the less places to visit, will help to limit the noise and confusion.
Tip 4. Take pleasure in the simple things
We often put so much emphasis on making Christmas Day perfect for everyone we don’t take time to just sit back and enjoy the simple things. Take time to stop and give thanks, be in the moment, after all, isn’t that what the spirit of Christmas is all about? Think about all the wonderful things your child has achieved throughout the year and be thankful. Your day doesn’t have to be perfect to be fun and memorable.
SASI Guest Parent Blogger
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