Between shopping for gifts, arranging get togethers, and cooking family meals, the holidays can be a stressful time of year. But for those who have a child with autism, all of the hustle and bustle can be particularly taxing. Here are some tips to help your child with autism manage this hectic time of year:
- Prepare for upcoming events like large family dinners by telling your child what to expect in advance. It may help to read books and stories with similar situations to help your child get used to the idea.
- When visiting family or friends, make sure there is a quiet, calm place that your child can calm down and decompress if necessary.
- Prepare a clear, succinct way to explain autism to family and friends that may not have encountered it before. Letting others know what to expect and what your child may be feeling can help relieve anxiety and tension for you and others.
- Keep an eye out for signs of anxiety or distress. An increase in behaviors such as humming or rocking may mean your child needs a break from all the activity.
- Ask your child’s speech therapist to incorporate holiday themes and activities into sessions as the holidays approach. Rehearsing communication strategies in context can help a child prepare for interacting with a variety of people and situations. For some children, role playing and incorporating holiday situations into games may help ease anxiety.
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Source: Autism Speaks