The holidays can be stressful for anyone but can be especially challenging for families of children with autism. Early preparation for the holidays can help relieve some of the stress for you as well as your child.
Shopping • The crush of holiday shopping is difficult on anyone. The noise and crowds can easily overwhelm a child that is sensitive to environmental stimuli. Take advantage of online shopping if possible or try and shop at off hours if your schedule and your child’s routine allows for it.
Decorating • Nothing says the Holidays more than decorating the house. Try to decorate in stages, rather than making a major change in one day. Allow your child to help to the best of his/her ability and talk about the memories associated with particular decorations that you have collected over the years. If your child is particularly sensitive to lights or sounds, avoid decorations with flashing lights or music.
Gifts • Have a discussion about who the gifts are for and when they will be opened. If possible, wait until just before the holiday to put gifts out. If you are having a large gathering try opening gifts in order, this will alleviate some of the chaos if everyone is opening things at once.
Sharing • Prepare your child that others may want to play with their new gifts. If there is something that your child is particularly attached to you may want to put it away during this time or provide him/her a quiet place to play with their own gifts.
Enjoy • This is a special time where memories and traditions are made with family and friends. Continue to enforce positive behavior and above all enjoy!