“The holidays give us the opportunity to pause and reflect on the
important things around us.”
Each year, the holiday season can bring lots of merriment and cheer, but for many special needs’ families, it can also bring stress. Changes in routines and sensory overwhelm can make the “most wonderful time of the year” particularly challenging for children with autism. The good news is there are several festive holiday activities you can do as a family that still take into account the unique needs of each child and help to positively impact child development too!
Here are some ways you can adapt and design activities for your kids this holiday season:
- Meeting Santa – For some children, meeting Santa can feel magical, but for others it can be overwhelming. That’s why so many malls across the country are running sensory-friendly Santa programs so children with special needs can take part in a time-honored Christmas tradition. You can also simply Google “sensory friendly Santa” and events near you will populate.
- Holiday Lights – Instead of loud parades or town-wide Christmas events, driving the whole family around to see the festive lights will allow you to enjoy the beauty without the cold and crowds. There’s even a searchable database for the best decorated homes, businesses, and drive-through light displays in your local area.
- Family Gatherings – Getting together with extended family can be one of the most stressful aspects of the holidays, but if you’re prepped with a plan, share it with family ahead of time, and stick to it, the whole family can enjoy the special time together. Another tip is to pack (read: overpack) all of the items your child might want, like their favorite foods, toys and security items.
- Home Activities – Holiday memories can be made just as easily in the warmth and comfort of your own home. Start a new family tradition of baking cookies, making paper garlands or cutting out snowflakes, even if you end up doing most of the work. You can also incorporate writing activities, such as name writing on present tags, holiday wish lists and writing letters to family and friends.
Although the holidays can bring along change, if you take a moment to look back at all of the wonderful experiences you’ve had as a family that year, you might just realize that you already have everything on your holiday wish list!
Interested in hearing more about how to successfully adapt and design environments for your child’s or student’s developmental progress? If you need support in getting started, Pieces of Inspiration is offering a one-of-a-kind course and sharing weekly strategies on the blog, guidance on YouTube and through weekly newsletters! They also offer FREE downloadable resources created by experts in the field!
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