Surviving the Holidays with a Child Who Has Autism

The holiday season is a time for celebration and togetherness, but it can also be overwhelming and stressful for families with a child who has Autism. The hustle and bustle of holiday gatherings, the change in routine, and the sensory overload of decorations and music can all be triggers for children with Autism.

But, with a little planning and preparation, you can make the holidays a fun and enjoyable time for your entire family, including your child with Autism. Here are some tips to help you survive the holidays with a child who has Autism.

1. Plan ahead and prepare your child.

The key to surviving the holidays with a child who has Autism is to plan ahead and prepare your child for what to expect. This means discussing the holiday events and activities with your child and explaining what will happen in a way that they can understand.

Consider using visual aids, such as pictures or videos, to show your child what the holiday events will be like. This can help them feel more comfortable and less overwhelmed when they arrive.

Additionally, consider providing your child with a sensory kit, which can include items like noise-canceling headphones, fidget toys, and earplugs. This can help them regulate their sensory input and feel more in control during the holiday events.

2. Create a sensory-friendly environment.

Children with Autism often have sensory sensitivities, which can be triggered by the sights, sounds, and smells of the holiday season. To create a sensory-friendly environment, try to minimize loud noises and flashing lights, and provide a quiet space for your child to retreat to if needed.

Consider bringing noise-canceling headphones or earplugs for your child to use if the environment becomes too loud or overwhelming. You can also bring along fidgets or other calming toys to help your child regulate their sensory input.

3. Be flexible.

The holiday season can be a busy and hectic time, with lots of events and activities to attend. But remember that it's okay to say no to some invitations, and to take breaks when needed.

If your child is having a difficult time at a holiday event, it's okay to leave early. You can always try again another time, or find a different way to celebrate the holiday that works better for your child.

4. Involve your child in the planning

Children with Autism often thrive on routine and structure, so involving them in the planning process can help them feel more comfortable and in control. Ask your child what activities and traditions they would like to participate in and incorporate their preferences into the holiday plans. This can also help your child feel more included and valued.

5. Stay consistent with routines.

Children with autism thrive on routine and predictability, so it's important to maintain their regular routines as much as possible during the holiday season. This means sticking to their regular sleep and meal schedules, and continuing to follow their therapy and treatment plans.

6. Communicate with others.

The holidays are a time for family and friends to come together, but not everyone may understand the needs of a child with autism. Communicate with others about your child's needs and preferences, and let them know what they can do to help make your child feel more comfortable.

Finally, let's be honest - the holidays can be stressful and exhausting for everyone! Living with Autism can be challenging and the holidays make this even more so. However, we are confident that by following the above strategies you and your family can enjoy the holidays with just a little less stress and a little more joy this year!

Happy Holidays!!

 


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