Preparing for the holidays should be fun! But it can turn stressful and overwhelming when your child with Autism doesn’t like change. Here’s what you can do. Involve your child in the process. If he hung it up with you, he’ll be less likely to be upset by it. Place sensory-friendly items within reach, allowing for hands-on interaction that he might enjoy. Place items out of reach, if you don’t want them touched. Leaving them out may be a cause of frustration for the family!
Will you be going to Grandma’s or spending time at Uncle Gary’s? Most likely, some advanced thoughts are necessary. Call your host and explain what will help your child remain calm and comfortable. Arrange for a quiet area that can be ‘just his’, a safe place without the overstimulation that lights, crowds and noise may cause. If at all possible, volunteer to host the party this year in your child’s most natural and comfortable environment. You may opt to do this next year as well!
Parties are fun! But what if your child won’t eat the food because it isn’t crunchy? Or the food served is not one of his three (oh, you wish there were more!) favorites? It’s a good idea to bring along familiar foods that your child likes so he can enjoy the party, too! Try to find a quiet spot for him to spend time when he’s simply maxed out of social company mid-party. Calming items, such as a weighted blanket, vibrator or a favorite teddy, may help him relax when it’s too noisy or taking too long. Preparing a tote to keep his favorites in can empower him to reach for it when the going gets tough!