This year the National Autistic Society and Ambitious about Autism have both come together to create an online guide full of tips for those with ASD and their families to help cope with Christmas.
Tracy Beadle is one of the contributors to the guide, and is the mother of two children on the autistic spectrum, Dylan (seven) and Jake (four). Both children love Christmas but their social difficulties and heightened sensitivity to noise, touch and taste have made parents Tracy and Glen approach this year’s festivities a little differently.
For the Beadle family, preparations for Christmas start in late November to get Jake and Dylan ready for the changes at home.
“We give the boys a count down of ‘sleeps’ before the decorations go up, and then again before they come down.” Tracy says.
The family then uses a visual calendar to count down the sleeps until Christmas day. Another tip is to find out when your children’s school are starting preparations for Christmas, and coinciding your family’s preparations with them.
Dylan and Jake are like many others with autism and find it hard to fake happiness if they get an unwanted gift. Friends and family of the boys now ask mum and dad what they want, to avoid any uncomfortable social situations.
The most important thing to take away from the guide is to find a routine that works, and keep to it. Of course the online guide acknowledges that everyone is different and what might work for one child, might not work for another; there will always be an element of trial and error. This guide does however speak from experience and many will find the tips useful for the festive season.
Dealing with autism and asperger’s syndrome can be difficult all year round, many benefit from talking to someone objective and experienced like a cousellor. If you want to know more, please see our asperger’s syndrome page.
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