Tips for a Smooth Holiday Season

The Holiday season is in full swing, and December brings some of the busiest and biggest holiday activities. The holiday season can be an especially difficult time for children on the Autism Spectrum. There are more activities to do, and many of those activities are not a part of the typical schedule. There are usually more people coming into a child’s life, and some of those people may be individuals the child only sees during the holiday season. There are also presents, giving and receiving, and typically a break from school. What all this means to a child with autism is a significant disruption in his/her schedule and routine and possibly being exposed to some situations that are going to be anxiety producing. Here are some suggestions that may help make things go a bit more smoothly:

1)Plan ahead for events by creating a visual calendar and preparing your child at least a week in advance.
2) For especially busy days, create a schedule of the events of the day that your child can take with him/her and check off events as each thing has been completed.
3) If possible, solicit help and assistance from relatives.
4) Be weary of and try to avoid any relatives who might, for whatever reason, trigger a meltdown in your child.
5) Watch for times/places that may be particularly chaotic, and plan accordingly.
6) Remember quality not quantity. Your child may not last as long at a holiday event as you would but good quality time is more important than the quantity of time spent.
7) Try to have fun and let your child have fun. Most of the things you will be doing are meant to be enjoyable, try to keep that philosophy in mind, and don’t worry about the small stuff!