While many people happily anticipate the holiday season, it can be difficult for families of those with autism. Individuals with autism often depend on structured supports to navigate their day, so when their schedule is disrupted due to holiday festivities, it can be overwhelming for both the child and the parents. Here are a few holiday tips that we hope will make your holiday season less stressful!
1. Preparation is crucial, so put changes in routine on a calendar or prepare a social story in advance.
2. Before the holidays, teach your child how to leave a situation or access support. For example, set aside a space for your child where he/she can go when feeling overwhelmed.
3. If you are traveling for the holidays make sure to bring reinforcers (favorite toys) and their favorite foods.
4. Practice waiting and taking turns prior to the event.
5. Prepare your family members with possible interventions to minimize problem behaviors. Notify them in advance regarding your child's limits and physical boundaries.