Sunday, November 27, 2011
Keeping it calm through the Holidays
Hopefully everyone survived Thanksgiving. Now we move forward to December with more celebrations to look forward to. If you Celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah or any of the other Celebrations during the month your sure to dread the effects of over stimulating the Autistic child. Finding ways to celebrate with out over stimulating and triggering rages and other reactions can be tricky. I have a few tips to help you survive and keep your hair attached to your head! I know I have had many Holidays that when done I am sure I had less hair than in the beginning! First stick to the schedule as much as you can. When the schedule will change remember to add it to the schedule ahead of time. Give enough warning and prep time for the child to understand and prepare for the change. I tell anyone I work with that change needs to be part of the routine. It helps them adjust when things are different. So if on the 7th your going to decorate the house start prepping now. Repeat that you will be putting away some of the items that are normally out all year long to decorate for Christmas. Make up a story about it, putting the=ings away to make room, pulling out the Decorations, sorting, going through them and putting them out. Remind the child, and family why your doing it, what your celebrating, how important it is, and do it daily until the big day. When the time comes take a few days ahead of time to pack up anything you need to put up to make room. Then when the biog day comes if your child is over whelmed and refuses to take part do not get upset, make sure he/she is ok, safe, and not harming anyone and then continue on. Many families try to minimize the change by using less decorations, use only your favorites, or only have a tree. There are ways to do it. We keep 2 Nativities out all year round. It makes it normal to have them out, and I think it is a beautiful decoration reminding me always of the Savior and what he has done for me. Many families have music going and it is a party to decorate. Sometimes this is to much stimuli for the Autistic/aspergers child. Turn down the music, or even off. Maybe you can spread out the days the decorating is done. Instead of 1 day to do it all take a week or more, doing a little each day. Many families have parties, Santa is invited to some, gifts exchanged and dinner. This is often to much for someone in the spectrum. You may have to skip out on the Large family parties, or go for a short time. Being prepared to leave. It is good to teach your child a signal, when it is to much and he is about to be over stimulated and realizes it, a way to let you know can be helpful. Then you can quietly excuse the family and go home, or maybe a time out away from everyone, where he can have a few moments of quiet solitude and regroup. For older Aspergers. Autistic children this sometimes works. Allowing them to take part but escape for a brief period when they need. A spot to sit alone can make it possible to attend family functions. Even if it is in the car, allow it if it helps. Make sure to take safe foods for your family if there are any special diet requirements. and also comfort foods. Sometimes a favorite food is very comforting during chaos, and can help avoid over stimulating during the meal. Stick up for your child and do not allow others to tease or set off. There are many ways to make it possible to attend family functions. But for the times that it is just not do able skip it and do something at home. If it makes your child miserable it is not worth it. And if you really must attend but your child is not up to it find an alternative for the child that they are happy with. I suggest this as a last resort for those who must attend for some reason. Remember the Holidays are to be enjoyed but we all have a different comfort level. It is important to make sure everyone feels safe, loved, and part of the celebrations without over stimulating. This can be hard but can be done. Take it slow and remember family is most important! If you have any questions please feel free to email me firstname.lastname@example.org Jaelene H. Merry Christmas!