1. I may not want to open all of my gifts on Christmas morning. It may take me all day! I may want to just play with the paper or with the first gift I opened. New toys can be hard to get used to.
2. Please don’t insist that I hang out with all of the friends and relatives. I need a space to myself… a place for quiet. Find a place that I can do my favourite activity so that you can enjoy your visits with others.
3. I may not be as excited as you would think I should be for Christmas. To be honest, I find it all a little too much; so many people, many different smells, too much noise, changes routine and too busy for my liking. Be patient with me.
4. I may want to leave the party early…..I may not enjoy the festivities as much as everyone else. I may cry, scream, or become hard to handle if I cannot cope. I am not trying to misbehave. I need help.
5. Please use visuals to show me the plan. A calendar of the family activities, a checklist of the errands we will have to do, and a photo album of the people who will visit would really help me to cope with all of the transitions and people. I don’t need fancy visuals…keep it simple. Just draw me stick figures or write out your plans in words.
Christmas is overwhelming for many of us. The numerous activities, errands and messed up schedule are just a few of the aspects of the season that can throw us off. Children with autism need help to cope with the Christmas season. Even high functioning individuals can find it all “too much.” We need to look at Christmas from the perspective of a person with autism and provide the tools and strategies necessary so that each member of the family can enjoy the season!
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from our family to yours! 😀