5 ways to make the Holidays Autism-Friendly
The holiday season is here, a time for family, food and friends. A time to celebrate gratitude and reflect. It’s a time for cheerful joy. The season is an exciting time for children, and children with special needs are no different. Weather you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, or Kwanze, or any other holiday celebration, the lights, the chaos of people, and visual stimuli can be too much for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) . To help reduce daily stressor that come along with the holiday season we have put together a few autism-friendly tips.
Festive Lights & Holiday Decor
Allow your child to be involved with the tree lighting and decorating of the christmas tree. Create social stories to help them prepare. You can make it a fun experience for them by spotting different christmas trees and light while out of the home. Avoid decorations with sound, glittery objects, or any flashing lights.
Crowds and Noise
For most, long lines and crowds of people can be overwhelming. For children on the spectrum it can be very overstimulating that can cause anxiety or trigger a problem behavior. Try avoiding crowds by heading to stores during non-busy hours, early in the morning or later in the evening. Maybe shopping while your child away in school or online can help reduce sensory challenges during holiday shopping.
Indy is filled with sensory- friendly events throughout the holiday season. Look for events that tailor to your kids needs to allow them to enjoy the holidays like everyone else. Sensory-friendly events are designed to be less sensory stimulating and overwhelming. This can make it easier for individuals with sensory sensitivities, and who are sensitive to loud noise, lights, colors, and crowds of people. Also, sensory-friendly events are a non-judgement free zone. Your kids are allowed to be who they are without worries. There are plenty resources out there tomake sure your child have a successful outing.
Check Out: Ease The Winter Blues for more sensory-friendly events aound Indy.
Opening up presents with others around can be over stimulating for those with sensory challenges. In advance, it’s recommended to let others know what your child likes and dislikes to help reduce any added stress and anxiety. If your child is not a fan of crowds, maybe set up a wrapping hour for him/her. It’s okay to open gifts at a later time or in a more comfortable space. Sometimes less is more.Your child may be more comfortable opening presents in the comfort of their home. Allowing the child to open gifts on their time can help reduce meltdowns or any other problem behavior triggered by over stimuli.
Provide Social Stories
Those who have a hard time deviated from their normal routine can find the holiday season challenging, especially kids during winter break. Social stories can help ease some of that anxiety to help with the disruption of their daily routine.
Suggested Social Stories
Decorating the Christmas Tree
Shopping During the Holidays
Meeting Santa Claus
Winter Break Routine
Have A Wonderful Hoilday Season.