The holidays are an exciting time for most but they can also be stressful for parents, especially those who have children dealing with Autism. The holidays tend to offer extended family time as well as lots and lots of foods, which can create issues with families who are dealing with an autistic child.
Thankfully there are a number of things that you can do to help your child prepare for the holidays and to avoid the meltdowns that may have become commonplace during holiday gatherings.
Try A Teaching Story
Often an illustrated story can go a long way towards preparing your child for the holidays. These stories do a great job of preparing children for the change in routine of Thanksgiving and Christmas. The Autism Speaks Family Services department actually developed a story for Thanksgiving, which will give you an idea of this type of illustrated material.
Work On Building Skills Prior To Holidays
With all that you have to do around the holidays it can sometimes seem difficult to find time to work with your son or daughter with skills that can be developed in a step-by-step manner. Ideally, you will want to start working on these skill-building exercises before the busy times of the holidays even begin. Also make a point to work with your child’s teacher or behavioral therapist to develop a set of goals for the holidays. Working with your child to specifically ask what they want is important as well as teaching them that they may not always get what they want is important as well.
Working with your child when it comes to mealtime behavior can be extremely time consuming, but in the end extremely worth it. Creating a scenario where your family members will all be able to enjoy the holidays is incredibly rewarding for you, your child and your entire family.
Concrete Tips For Holiday Gatherings
- Talk with your family members about keeping music, TV and conversation at appropriate volumes. While this can be difficult it can help your family members to understand that they can be helpful as well. Another option is to allow your child to wear headphones with some music that he or she enjoys to avoid overstimulation.
- Create a quiet room where your child can go and relax during family time. This area can have some of your child’s favorite toys to help them feel right at home even during a stressful time.
- Always remember to reward your child when they are behaving properly. This can be difficult when you are busy with other holiday activities, but is important to help your child to understand the positive rewards that should accompany proper behavior.
Happy Holidays From Creating Brighter Futures
At Creating Brighter Futures we want to wish all of our wonderful clients a happy holiday season. We enjoy working with the wonderful children at our facility each and every day and are thankful that we are able to make a difference in their lives. For more information about our ABA autism treatment center, give our office a call today at (734) 926-0740.