Holiday season is upon us, again. It feels that time flies, right?
A couple of years ago we posted a blog on the topic of helping your special needs child during the holidays:
For families with a member who has special needs, the holidays can present unique challenges: lack of predictable and familiar routines, overstimulation, being away from home, and the caregiver himself being stressed, to name a few.
Let’s review our top tips on how to navigate these troubled waters.
1. Keeping routines in place is the best ways to avoid holiday havoc: sleep/meals times, play/outing activities, etc.
2. When changes in routines are foreseeable, prepare your kids in advance. The use of visual aids, such as pictures, timers, schedule boards, can be very helpful when dealing with children with special needs.
3. Avoid long trips whenever possible. Airports, planes and long car rides can be very stressful.
4. At family gatherings prepare a quiet space for your child to retreat to when stimulus gets too intense and he/she needs a break.
5. Don’t force your child to do anything unless it involves a safety concern or an emergency. Motivation by offering a preferred item/activity in exchange for doing something is always a better solution.
As I said in my previous blog, it’s important for you to relax and stay as calm as possible. Your child absorbs your mood and your stress can rub off. Have fun. You are your child’s barometer and if you are stressed out, he/she will be too.
Daniel Adatto, BCBA.