What does the holiday season mean for an autistic child

images (1)The holiday season is generally considered to be the most wonderful and exciting time of the year, but for those who are affected by the autism syndrome disorder, the holiday season can be a very challenging and stressful experience.

The holiday season is commonly celebrated with a parade of bright lights and decorations. The over-abundance of scented products at this time of year is everywhere in the air. The crowd wandering everywhere around town is bigger as people gather to witness and enjoy the holiday spirit. The noisy environment usually goes along with the celebration activities. The combination of those factors all-together and their cumulative effect can create feelings of overstimulation for the autistic brain, which often can lead to a meltdown.

To best prepare your child for this holiday season and ensure that they will have an enjoyable experience, many experts recommend to be selective about the activities the children will take part in. Thus, some holidays traditions or rituals may have to be reconsidered. It can also be a good opportunity to create new traditions if the old ones don’t work out as much. Since children affected by autism have difficulties transitioning between one activity to the next, experts also suggest trying to maintain the daily routine as much as possible. If the routine has to be slightly altered, picture schedules and social stories are great communication tools to let them know what to expect. But to be prepared for the unexpected, a pair of headphones or earmuffs can come in handy in certain situations.

Although, while seeking expert guidance may be a smart planning strategy, we must remember that the child is the only one person we must religiously listen to. Each individual is unique and this statement is even more true for people living with autism. So the best tip may be to just embrace how your child likes to celebrate.  That’s something the Prescotts family who are the parents of an autistic little girl are looking forward to. “Her mom and I just want her to be a kid you know and that’s just kind of the gift we’ve been given,” says the father.

 

 

 

 

 

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