This is re-post from December 2014. My advice for parents surviving the holidays with ASD.
Now that the Holidays have arrived, how are you handling it? Becoming stressed? I can totally relate. The holidays may be stressful for everyone, but it can be even more overwhelming with families on the Autism Spectrum. i.e. Sensory overload, routines,etc. Here is something to ease your mind.
I have written for you 5 simple tips to get you through the holidays and actually enjoy them with your family. I hope.
1. Don’t Over Do it.
It’s okay to say “no” to all the invites for holiday parties and gatherings. Your child will be much happier and more comfortable celebrating in a place where he feels comfortable. If you are attending a gathering with friends or family, you may kindly excuse yourself and leave. If you have to take two cars, do it! If they are accepting of the situation normally folks will not feel offended if you need to exit the house because your child has had a meltdown.
2. Plan Ahead (Prep, prep, and more prep.)
Definitely, have a plan in place. If you are traveling by any form of transportation and visiting friends or family, prepare activities for your child. Have a familiar bag full of activities ready to go. Also have a designated quiet spot for your child to escape to when it gets too much of you happen to be staying elsewhere. Write Social Stories for visits to i.e. “The Trip to Grandma’s House.” If you are flying contact the airlines and ask what their accommodations for passengers with Autism are.
3. Maintain the Routine.
Try to keep your child’s routine as normal as possible, this will make it less stressful for everyone involved.
4. Make Gift Giving and Shopping Simple.
I cannot stress this enough. Make this process simple. Prepare ahead, only spend a minimal amount of time initially, and then gradually increase the time you spend in the mall or store. Your child’s sensory expectations will change and probably heighten while you’re in the store. Make gift giving fun and simple! Frustration can increase when given too many choices. Don’t make it difficult on yourself. Basically think simplicity. If your son is like mine, he doesn’t know about writing a list. Gift buying might become more difficult for you as it comes closer to Christmas. Stick with simple gifts!
I know it is easier said than done but if you are anxious, stressed and anxiety ridden, your child will sense that something isn’t quite right. They are wonderful at picking up ques. So take your own “time out” and enjoy the holidays!
Stim Soup Copyright 2015