Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
The holidays are here and are a very exciting time for everyone. As exciting as they are, the holidays do present their own unique set of challenges for your child with autism. They can be very stimulating and unsettling; also as we all know the chaos of running around at the last minute can create stress in us, think about what it must do to someone who has much more reduced abilities to manage it. There is no need to worry however as there are many resources and suggestions available to help you and your child with autism cope, avoid that meltdown, and have an excellent holiday season.
Autism Speaks has posted several very helpful go-to sheets with suggestions for parents. I like their resources because they are straightforward, easy-to-read, and excellent for a quick look to preempt any potential holiday melt down. You can find a PDF of "Holiday Tips" here.
Autism Society posts a "Holiday Tips" sheet that can be easily accessed. I like their tip sheet for the fact that it goes a little more in-depth than the one offered by Autism Speaks. The Autism Society Sheet offers examples and suggestions to troubleshoot certain situations. This is an excellent tool for parents, however its main drawback would be that it is not as handy as Autism Speaks and would require more time to read and digest. You can read their "Holiday Tips" here.
Pathfinders for Autism's offering "Parent Tips: Holiday Tips" is very helpful for its suggestions on how to handle the excitement and turmoil of giving, opening, and negotiating surprises (pleasant and unpleasant) around reactions to gifts. While more focused onto a specific topic than the previous two offerings, this is an excellent article for that very reason. I particularly like how the author discusses gift giving as an opportunity for building theory of mind and interpersonal interactions. Several additional links are also offered from article's page. You can read "Parent Tips: Holiday Tips" here.
Happy Kids Holidays is a very in-depth family resource offering a multitude of suggestions around all different forms of holidays including vacations. The site is easy to navigate and very comprehensive: something for everyone. I think this is an excellent website and recommend it if you have a lengthy period of time to dedicate to exploring its offerings. You can visit them here.
The Autism Support Network provides a short overview with some suggestions for parents to help them stay calm when dealing with their child with autism. It is concise and fairly easy to read. You can find their article here.
Positively Autism has excellent resources for parents and children in the form of social stories. These social stories are dedicated to a wide variety of subjects including: manners; what is Thanksgiving?; why travel for the holidays; sharing; gift giving at Thanksgiving; and so on. I highly recommend using social stories to teach about the holidays because of their easy-to-use, concrete format. See my post on social stories by going to the main page of my website for more information. You can see Positively Autism's "Thanksgiving Activities" page and a link to an article about Thanksgiving manners here.
These are just several of many resources for parents of children with autism about keeping the holidays safe and sane; these are just several I have found particularly useful. Please remember that many suggestions offered are similar. This observation should serve as a source of comfort if for no other reason than to remind you, the parent, that you are not alone in your concerns and needs! Happy Holidays and I hope you all have a wonderful, peaceful holiday with your child with autism.