Sunday, November 30, 2008

Autism during the Holidays

Even if your kids don't have autism, these tips might help you avoid a meltdown this holiday season!

From Associated Content: Autistic children thrive on schedules. When their schedules are changed, even the slightest, it could mean that the day is going to be filled with meltdowns. Autistic children can have a hard time dealing with the holidays. The holidays usually bring several changes in an autistic child's schedule. Here are some ways you can survive the holidays with your autistic child and still keep to a schedule:

Holidays mean changes in your autistic child's school routine. They may have half days, or no school at all. This will mean a huge change in your autistic child's schedule. Granted they have the weekends off from school each week, but this will be for a longer period.

  1. To help your autistic child cope with the holiday from school, you will need to plan several activities to keep them busy.

  2. You might want to stick to the same wake up time.

  3. Go about your normal routine for a school day as much as possible. This will help your autistic child deal with the time off from school.

  4. Holidays will bring many visitors to your house. This can make your autistic child feel nervous if they are not used to lots of people coming by. This can also mean a change in their normal daily schedule.

  5. To make this change of schedule easier on your autistic child consider having guests over at one certain time, instead of people dropping in at different times of the day. This will allow you to prepare the child. They will know when to expect the guests.

  6. The holidays can mean many different outings. These can interfere with your autistic child's normal schedule. This does not mean you have to pass them up. You simply need to plan for them. Tell your autistic child about the outing in advance. Talk with them about what the outing will entail.

  7. If the outing is something you do not think your autistic child will enjoy, see if you can find someone to watch them. This will help to avoid unnecessary meltdowns and stress for you both.

Personally, I think all parents can relate to some extent. Kids with autism just have a more exaggerated reaction to the changes. I know my son is less shy when I talk to him ahead of time about what to expect. He likes to know who will be there and how he is expected to act when we arrive. Visiting relatives can be uncomfortable for adults. It's no different for kids!

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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Rachel D said...

I love the fact that you said "Even if your kids don't have autism..."

We try to follow these guidelines for all holidays with our toddler. You can tell a big difference when we don't! Sticking to routines as much as possible and getting a good amount of sleep helps all children deal with the excitement of the season!

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