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You have made it through another year - great! Here comes the big payoff… a relaxing holiday with your family. Does this sound like something you can imagine? If not, let’s take a couple of minutes to go through what you probably already know.
Like anything with our kids, some things go without a hitch, and other times it is hard to say just what was the trigger for a meltdown. This time of the year is already filled with so many expectations and ideas of what the holidays “should” be; that it can be a little stressful. Here are a few thoughts I would like to share with you. First step, imagine Martha Stewart with a child with autism in her kitchen climbing the cupboards and put things in perspective! Then:
Plan, plan, plan! You know your child better than anyone else. Can he or she handle two events in one day? Take care of your family’s needs first. Sometimes we regret committing to an event to keep our families and friends happy when our kids can’t cope with the social whirl.
How about entertaining? If you have promised to prepare the big dinner for your friends and family, and your child is not used to so much action, what about suggesting a potluck? That way you can spend time with the people you love and still keep an eye on your little one (model some great social skills at the same time. :-)
Decorating the house: a wonderful thing to raise spirits. What if your child has a big problem with change, or wants to climb the tree? Start your own traditions! Be creative! Have your child paint the windows. Hang decorations from the ceiling. A wreath of fresh pine and some candles are beautiful and can be placed out of reach and/or in a room that the little one doesn’t spend much time in, reducing frustration. Take care of your family’s needs first.
It’s never too early to start advocating for your child. Practice this season by ASKING FOR HELP! Coordinate with those you love, have friends at functions keep an eye on your little one for ½ hour blocks… they might be glad to do it!
Best wishes for a terrific holiday season! Stephanie Frey
Once Stephanie has made it through the holidays, she will begin collecting information for ACT on services and needs of teenagers with ASD transitioning to adulthood. You can email Stephanie your tips on resources at