As parent(s) and caregiver(s), have you ever thought of how you will make special occasions simple for your child with autism? I have and I know it can be a challenge, but you can keep those special days simple.
I have experienced for myself how I love special occasions, birthdays, holidays, special events, etc. but to make them work with very little stress and to keep those days simple, can be difficult.
Your child may experience sensory overload and you probably are experiencing emotional overload. It can become extremely stressful.
I remember, there were times when I was so excited to plan special times with my brother who had his disorder. At the same time, I dreaded the opportunity of ever thinking of having special occasions or acknowledging them. I became an emotional nervous wreck. I dreaded it.
The first thing I decided to do for those days to be the special times and kept simple, was I chose to have small gatherings at my house. I felt by taking this action, it would make the familiar surroundings less stressful, without creating more confusion and it would help in keep the plans to run smooth.
If you plan to have special events away from your home, I would suggest that you arrive early, so you and your child become familiar with new surroundings, such as, different sounds, lights, cooking odors, where the bathroom facilities are and get adjusted to new faces. In addition, where will your child sit or play?
If you are going to attend a special occasion that requires you to bring a gift or receive a gift, you will want to teach your child how to give a gift, as well as receive a gift.
Teach your child how to receive and open the gift that is wrapped, how to say "thank you", and teach him or her how to give a gift.
You can practice this strategy with another sibling or with yourself and your child. You might want to consider visual prompts to keep it simple, or show a video that demonstrates this kind of practice.
You may want to act out how to give and receive gift(s), by saying "This is for you", "Thank you", "Wow!, this is great", "Thank you, this is just what I wanted." Be creative.
If there is dinner, you are probably concerned with the question, how long should you stay at the dinner table? This can be a challenge. I know it was for my brother. Try to encourage your child to try new foods. Allow him or her to feel relaxed and comfortable, plus in a safe place. If your child chooses not to eat everything that is offered, do not push or scold your child.
If your child is feeling uncomfortable with the dinner that is taking place and is getting restless, excuse your child to go to another room where he or she will feel calm.
Learn to enjoy yourself, try not to get all nervous and full of anxiety because your child is celebrating special occasions and has the disorder of autism. Keep it simple.
Children sense when you are overloaded with stress and this puts them in a more of an uneasy state of anxiety, that will only cause more stress. Do not be afraid to designate help from other people, such as siblings, aunts, uncles, nephews, neighbors, etc.
Are you going to prepare yourself to keep special occasions simple? Are you willing to teach your child how to give and receive gifts and be part of the celebration? Will you allow your child to feel relaxed and comfortable at the dinner table?
Bonita Darula's informational web sight==> http://www.autismintoawareness.com is where you SIGN up and RECEIVE your FREE WEEKLY NEWSLETTER with updated topics that are imperative for your Autistic child and you. She also offers an e-book that has updated information about the signs and warnings of Autism. Check it out.