The holiday season is upon us and for those of us that have a family member with autism, sometimes it feels like the season can bring more stress than fun. I hope that these posts from The Autism Education Site archives can help you as you prepare for Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years and the other Winter Holidays.
“The holiday season can be a particularly challenging time for both children with autism and their families. The value of planning for the holidays cannot be overestimated for those with sensory sensitivities, who thrive on routine, and are easily disoriented. The holidays are filled with sights, sounds, and smells. The average household is turned into a busy, frantic, festive place. The stores are brightly lit, excessively noisy with holiday music and busy with shoppers rushing in every direction.”
“Family vacations can be stressful under the best of circumstances. Throw a child or two with autism into the mix, and it can seem overwhelming and perhaps easier to just stay home. But more and more families who have children with autism spectrum disorders are traveling to all kinds of destinations near and far. Though vacationing with a spectrum child requires a good amount of planning, it can be a fun and rewarding experience for the whole family.”
“More and more families are enjoying the comfort and familiarity of travel options arranged specifically for people who live with children or adults with ASD. One such venue is a cruise run by Autism on the Seas. Director Michael Sobbell decided to offer these cruises as a simple business venture, but he says the overwhelming positive response from parents has been heartwarming.”
Note: This article was amended for Valentine’s Day but it has great information for the winter holiday season as well.
“We assume that everyone enjoys receiving a gift, especially kids. Yet many parents report that getting a gift causes fear and anxiety in their children with autism. Simply put, it just is not fun for them. Rather than bubbling with excitement, they face increasing anxiety over the unknown. They fear opening a gift when they don’t know what’s under the paper. They truly hate surprises, even good ones. They may be uncertain about how to respond to the gift. Or they may worry about disappointment if the gift isn’t their one desired item. It’s more than enough to push our kids on the spectrum over the edge to a meltdown.”
“It is the holiday season and while you and I might be excited about the bright lights, the holiday music and all the wrapped presents, it may lead to sensory overload for individuals on the autism spectrum. ReThink Autism has created a video with several tips for a happy holiday season.”
“The holidays are upon us and while we may think it is nothing but fun to spend time with relatives and friends we see once every year, it can be a more challenging time for children on the autism spectrum. Caroline Eggerding, Vice President of Clinical Services and Chief Medical Officer at Bancroft, a leading provider of programs and services for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, created several useful tips for a smooth holiday season.”