Autism Resources

4 Tips for Helping Children on the Autism Spectrum During the Holidays

BlueSprig December 16, 2019

This time of year is always busy and bustling, and supporting your child with autism during the holidays requires extra effort.

Coping with the ever-changing landscape of the holidays is a big task for all of us. Our Executive Director of Clinical Quality, Meade McHenry, MS BCBA, put together a few tips that might help your child on the autism spectrum during the holiday season, from Halloween, to Thanksgiving, to Christmas, to New Year’s Eve.

Schedules are Important

The holidays can be a chaotic time where it’s difficult to stay on a schedule. It’s important for children to maintain as much of their typical routine as possible for a smooth holiday season. This can include keeping bedtime and morning routines as consistent as possible. Especially when school and therapy schedules are typically switched up. Keep it fun and prepare your child for the changes that may happen.

Be Prepared

Preparation is key for a smooth and happy holiday season for the whole family. The amount of preparation may vary for each child. It is important to communicate with your child’s support team for additional preparation suggestions. Visuals can be a great tool. You may use a calendar and counting down the days until the holiday, or visitors arriving. Some children also enjoy learning from stories/conversations, to go over what the holidays will be like and what they can expect.

Preparing to Travel?

Bring plenty of their favorite toys, activities, and food items to keep them engaged and provide them familiar items, especially if traveling to an unfamiliar location.

Provide a Quiet Space

If there is a lot of activity and people that will be arriving for the holiday, prepare a quiet space away from the hustle and bustle where your child can play and engage in preferred activities to have a quiet, low-demand space.

Accommodate for Your Child’s Needs

If there are a lot of gifts, children can easily feel overwhelmed if there are a lot of presents to open.You can spread out the gift-giving throughout the morning and let them enjoy their gift before moving to the next gifts to help them enjoy the fun of the day.