With the festive period upon us, for many families and individuals affected by autism, this can be a particularly overwhelming time. So here are 12 tips to help you and your family enjoy an autism-friendly yuletide!
1. "During the festive period, I allow my child to have their tablet and headphones so they can hear the tablet more than they can hear us. Just to give them time to self regulate."
2. Visiting Santa: To avoid bustling queues call ahead to inquire when they're less busy or visit a Grotto that allows you to book an allotted time slot.
3. Visual aids are a great way to introduce and prepare for any upcoming changes to a schedule or routine.
4. If unfamiliar family members are visiting, count down to their arrival by regularly showing photos of them and explaining who they are.
5. If your child prefers to know what's inside a present, use plain wrapping paper and stick a picture of the present on the outside, or use a see-through material such as cellophane.
6. For some, decorations and lights can be overwhelming so one option is to limit these to just one room in the house.
7. If you're going to be away from a familiar setting pack a rucksack full of familiar items, toys or foods to provide moments of comfort
8. Regular routines: Where possible try and stick to your usual routines for mealtimes, bathtime, and bedtime. If this isn't possible, discuss upcoming changes ahead of time.
9. Opening all the presents on Christmas morning can be overwhelming so spread the gift-giving over the festive period.
10. Some parents unbox presents and add batteries in advance and then wrap the present so it's ready to be played with straight away.
11. At the end of each day, discuss what you've done that day and what the plans are for the following day.
12. Don't feel like you have to conform to traditional Christmas festivities. Do whatever works best for your family. "There's probably only one snippet in the day that we can change - that is probably just opening presents."
1. Quote from parent
2. Tip from parent
12. https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/how-kids-autism-cope-christmas_uk_5a1d52b8e4b0e2ddcbb27fde?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAA5WfxH2t8hSEriOfz4xztuJ7W_6W8judpQ49GQi4tzdCgnjXZ9wqZ-KCk1W77ZIjFj_Gchgni1BbZpBj1hwooYtn-RabKllYCsgohku4OJ3XxwZ0AvJv0Vtc-q5ZHgklismixPmtiRfQu1QO1MXCmTDbXKvqsLWYYxVjkC45rPC / Quote from parent