The coming holiday season is a joyful time of year that brings together families and friends. However, it can also be quite stressful – especially for those who have a child with autism.
With that in mind, FirstPath Autism would
like to offer up tips to help handle everything from holiday party
meltdowns to stress that can arise from schedule changes and holiday
travels. While compiled for those with an autistic child in their lives,
many of the tips work just as well for all families.
SCHEDULE CHANGES AND TRAVEL
1. Prepare for changes in home and school routines.
holidays mean that your family’s usual routine shifts, and that causes
disruption for everyone, including your child. Much as children may look
forward to the season of celebrations, they may not understand that it
involves trade-offs too. For example, having a holiday pageant at school
may mean that their favorite art class is cancelled for the day. Be
sure to discuss these changes with your child ahead of time. Your child
may not infer that the pageant means that art class won’t happen as
2. Assess sugar impact and decide what’s reasonable.
holidays often mean different foods and lots of seasonal treats. Find a
balance between prudence and fun.
3. Be mindful of sensory issues.
holidays mean plenty of flashing lights, decorations, and music.
Festive celebration can be challenging for individuals with autism and
sensory processing disorder. Consider having your child help you either
pick out decorations for the house or have him/her help you with
decorating and preparing.
4. Ease into traveling and change.
you will be traveling to see family and friends, prepare your child for
what the experience will be like. To help ease your child into the
trip, you may want to bring along any special foods needed and a
favorite object. If you’re flying, check with the TSA regarding any
rules that may apply and consider reaching out to the airline in
advance. Let them know you’ll be traveling with a child with autism and
include any special information that might be helpful.
5. If the traditions don’t fit, make your own!
of us start thinking in terms of tradition when the holidays approach.
Given this, it’s easy to get caught up in how things are “supposed” to
be. Remember that, as a parent, you get to do what works for you and your
family. Embrace the reality of your own household, and most of all, have
HOLIDAY PARTY MELTDOWNS
Picture this: You and your
family have made it to your favorite annual party. Everyone’s having a
great time … that is, until your child with autism gets completely
overwhelmed by the festivities.
You tried to redirect her attention, but it didn’t work.
What’s your next move?
psychologist Lauren Elder, Autism Speaks assistant director for
dissemination science, speaks to this question in Parents of Child with Autism Seeking Help Handling Public Meltdowns.
1. Stay calm
2. Stop and help your child
3. Tell bystanders what you need them to do
more guidance on this topic? These 10 Tips for Managing a Meltdown,
with specific guidance from Amalie D. Holly, a Board Certified Behavior
Analyst on the FirstPath Autism team can help further.
Tips courtesy of FirstPath Autism:
Autism is an organization dedicated to the education, training, and
awareness of evidence-based autism treatment developed by the Founder,
Romina Kiryakous at the Genesis Behavior Center in Turlock, CA. The
treatment practiced at Genesis is based on Applied Behavior Analysis
(ABA), the most widely covered treatment for autism by insurance
companies. In 2015, Kiryakous developed FirstPath Autism, a personalized
online education, support, and training program dedicated to the
parents and caregivers of children with autism. The goal of FirstPath
Autism is to offer an autism lifeline to parents and to help care givers
better serve children with autism.
Web Site: http://www.firstpathautism.com