Holiday Tips For Families in The Spectrum

December is here, and with it, the holiday season. Lots of celebration, lights, and fun. For most families, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. However, for families in the spectrum, this can represent a lot of changes, stimuli, and unwanted meltdowns.

Today we will share with you a few helpful tips that will help you make the most out of this wonderful season!

House Decorations 

Decorating your house can be great to help your child get involved with the season, the next tips will help you decorate without stressing your child:

  • Decorate Gradually: If your child has difficulty with change, decorating gradually is for you. This will enable your child to process what it’s going on without making him feel overwhelmed.
  • Allow Interactions: Allow your child to help with deco, this way he/she will get involved with the whole process and will become familiar with it.
  • Avoid Flashing Lights: Flashing lights can be overwhelming for some children. If this is your situation, skipping them might be the best thing.

Routines and Traveling 

If you are traveling or spending holidays somewhere else, routines might be disrupted. These tips will help you minimize changes and support positive behavior:

  • Quiet Spaces: If you are visiting family and friends, make sure to ask for a quiet space where your child can have a peaceful moment, this can help avoid meltdowns.
  • Respect Schedules: We understand that this can be challenging, however, autistic children thrive in schedules, so sticking to it as much as possible can make a huge difference.
  • Prepare with Visuals: If your child is going to meet new faces, try preparing him/her for that with pictures, if you are going to do a new activity show images. The goal is to allow your child to process all the new that is about to take place.
  • Meal Preparation: This can be really challenging because traveling includes lots of eating out. However, an easy solution for this is to pack in bags whatever your child likes and take it with you. The same goes for snacks and car munchies.

Gifts and Playing 

Gifts are probably your child’s favorite thing about the season. Make the most of it with the next recommendations:

  • If you are placing gifts under the Christmas tree, make sure to explain that gifts must be open only when indicated and that the whole family must be there.
  • Reduce anxiety by unpacking toys and just place them in gift bags. This way your child won’t stress when he opens it.
  • Prepare his/her siblings to share toys.
  • Provide family members with gift recommendations so your child is not exposed to toys that can cause a meltdown.
  • Keep an eye on stimming and hand-flapping, it can be an indicator of over-stimuli. If this happens, give him/her a break.

Note: As a parent (especially ASD parent) you are used to putting everyones needs before yours, we get this. But at the same time, you must take care of yourself too! Remember, your child needs you to be at your best, so have some grace for yourself and do something to love yourself too! A mani appointment, a coffee with a friend, or even a flower bouquet can make a huge difference in your mood!

At WSCC, we offer support for autistic families and their children with Stem Cell Therapy treatments that can transform autistic conditions by healing the gut, decreasing inflammation, and improving brain function. We also created an autistic community on Facebook that is destined to offer support and companionship for ASD parents and their families on their journey.

 Remember, you are not alone!