Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Holiday Tips for Families with Autism

I've recently discovered the Autism blog on the Easter Seals website. One that you should definitely bookmark. Here's a recent great blog (my comments are in red):

Holiday tips for families with autism

Posted by Beth Finke on December 15th, 2008

The holidays can be an especially difficult time for people with autism. And who can blame them? Changes in routine, different demands, new foods, sounds, textures — what a challenge!

A holiday post on the ABA4Autism or other Neuropsychological Disorders blog offers tips to make the winter holidays better.

1. Try to keep your child in his or her usual routine as much as possible.

2. Sensory over stimulation — the lights, the sounds, the smells, the relatives touching your child — are the main culprits during the holidays. Eliminating or minimizing these culprits are your best bet.

3. Some families who have children with autism or other neuropsychological disorders wait until Christmas Eve to put up their tree and decorate. (That's what we do. We haven't decorated in years mainly because of Ammon "The Destroyer" and Sarah "Miss Touchy, Feely, Licky". And because they must knock down the tree we have used a painted tree that a great friend at church made for us)

4. Some families let their children with autism or other neuropsychological disorders do all of the decorating. Children with autism or other neuropsychological disorders may line up or stack decorations rather than decorate in the traditional way, but so what. (Our nativity scene is one that Emma makes with her Barbies)

5. Rather than try to do the Christmas shopping with children with autism or other neuropsychological disorders in a crowded, noisy mall, many families shop by catalogue or online and let the child point to or circle the toys he/she wants. Websites, such as www.stars4kidz.com, offer a variety of toys for children with autism or other neuropsychological disorders. Just type “autism toys” in your search engine. (We've been using this website for everything else: http://www.marketamerica.com/6asdkids/)

6. Tactile toys are often a better choice for children with autism or other neuropsychological disorders. Toys that make sounds or involve too much stimulation or are too complex may not cause an aversive reaction in the child. As mentioned above there are web sites that sell toys designed for children with autism or other neuropsychological disorders. Try ordering some of these toys and then let your child select the ones to play with as they are unwrapped.

7. Talk to relatives before they come over about the best way to behave with children with autism or other neuropsychological disorders. Have them read my article, “What Horses Tell Us About Autism,” which is available for free on the second page of my website. (Do your relatives visit you? The ones that care are too far away and the ones that are close don't come around anymore.)

8. Generally, kids with autism or other neuropsychological disorders do better in the morning than in the late afternoon or evening when they are tired. It may be better to schedule Christmas events at these times.

9. The parents of children with autism or other neuropsychological disorders need to relax themselves. Often the child with autism picks up on the parents’ stress and that is enough to ruin Christmas. (Autism causes stress?!)

10. And last but not least, realize that you are probably not going to have a perfect food, perfect decorations, and perfect gifts. Christmas with children with autism or other neuropsychological disorders may not be traditional, but it can still have real meaning. (Sometimes I wonder if children with autism or other neuropsychological disorders know that Christmas has become too commercial.)

We’re off to Wisconsin this weekend to celebrate an early Christmas with our grown son Gus in his group home. I’ll keep some of these tips (especially the one reminding parents to relax!) in mind.

http://autismblog.easterseals.com/holiday-tips-for-families-with-autism/

"Have yourself a Merry little Christmas..." ~ Dad

3 comments:

Susan said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Susan

http://www.car-insurance-choices.com

Serenity said...

I enjoy reading your blog, as I can relate to so much of what you say, since I have 2 autistic kids myself. I just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to blog about your lives. I know it's not easy finding the time.

Also, this year we put up a little tree in a corner with a gate in front of it. It's not traditional, but it's not been knocked over or busted up like in years past!

preschoolteacher said...

My newphew is autistic and family gatherings and changes in routine really stress him out. Any suggestions to help my inlaws who just want to treat him like "a retard (I've spoken up about that one)" or punish him for needing to have a quiet time away from others.