Christmas can be a hectic time for the average family but with an autistic child in the home, it can be even more difficult. As parents you will have to prepare a little differently.
Your home will be filled with colourful lights and decorations: the cooking smells will be different and many visitors are possible at this time of the year. Your child might not easily cope with some or all of these changes to routine.
The best way to prepare is to begin well in advance for that all important day. Put up a big board and write on it what will be happening and when. As a family, check the list each day and work out what comes next. This will help prepare your child for change and at the same time, keep the rest of the family on track at this busy time.
Put Christmas baubles in jars around the home so that the child can see them at every turn and get used to them. Do the same with the lights too so that they get used to the colours. A little at a time is a good rule to go by.
On Christmas Day at meal time, have your child’s usual favourites on standby in case they refuse the new dishes. It is enough for them to get through the new routine without having to try different foods as well. Also, stagger the gift opening so that they are not overwhelmed with too many toys, etc. If they stop playing with one then move it out of sight until they finish with the next one.
The general idea is not to overwhelm the child if possible. Get some more tips from Stuart Duncan so that you can be fully prepared for a great holiday and minimise the chances of your child becoming upset.