Make a list of each activity and event that your child or family may be involved in to try to anticipate what they may need or want in order to enjoy it or possibly just get through it.
As part of your planning, you may also want to remind or explain to your family and friends joining you for the holidays that your child has certain behaviors or challenges and how you will handle them at your home or their home.
What To Say & Not To Say
Share with friends and family topics your child enjoys to talk about and is successful
at doing so. You may also want to share topics or things that irritate your child so
those are avoided during the holidays.
Comforts Of Home.
Bring your child’s own comforts of home such as a favorite toy (ex: iPad), their own
foods & drinks, and supplies. Some supplies that you may consider bringing to
holiday gatherings and functions are noise cancelling headphones, weighted vests,
favorite blanket, etc.
Use Visual Schedules.
These are extremely helpful because it provides information presented visually
rather than spoken. This presentation of information helps explain in picture form
what is going to happen each day. It really has great effect on helping children
understand the activities of the Holiday Season like: wrapping presents, decorating & baking cookies, decorating the tree, watching holiday movies, visiting relatives, opening presents, decorating the house inside & outside, etc.
Social Stories are short and simple stories with pictures that can help with:
– Transitions – A new situation, activity, or event: moving from one activity,
event or environment to another
– Priming- These stories allow for previewing things before they occur and
therefore make children more comfortable before they would have to engage
in the new or target situation.
Visiting “Sensitive Santa” for children with autism or special needs allows children to
experience meeting Santa stress free. This opportunity is amazing in that it offers a much calmer, quieter, and “sensory-friendly” environment for children. Sensitive
Santa is even more understanding, calm and patient. I really think it’s worth seeking
him out in this environment.
Divide & Conquer.
This is about the 2 car strategy. This is a strategy extremely important if you have
more than one child so if your child with special needs is struggling with an activity
or holiday function, parents may divide up without spoiling things for a sibling(s) if a
To make gift giving to children with special needs stress-free and worry-free, from
both the parent and the relative or family friend wanting to give the gift, a good
strategy is having the parent select and purchase gifts they feel are appropriate. The
gift(s) will be then by presented and given by the relative and/or friend.
Hope these tips help you to enjoy your holidays!