The winter holiday season is filled with many great things – yummy treats, thoughtful gifts and visits with those we have missed. But, for many individuals with disabilities and their families, the holidays can also cause a significant amount of upheaval.
The stress of trying to manage long drives or flights, planning schedules, hosting get-togethers and balancing everyone’s needs can make the holiday’s feel a little less festive. To help individuals and families prepare (as much as possible) for the holiday season, the Family Support team has gathered some resources and information.
Autistic Adults Share What Helped and What Didn’t Manage the Stress of the Holidays
Autistic adults were asked “What helped you (and what did not help you) manage the stress of the holidays? What should parents of kids on the autism spectrum keep in mind to help their kids when the holiday ‘fun’ feels overwhelming?”. Check out their insightful responses in this article from ‘The Mighty’ contributor Ellen Stumbo.
Holiday Survival Guide for Families
While this guide was first published in 2010, there are still many great suggestions and tips, including advice for visiting Santa, decorating your home and age-specific toy recommendations. There is also information for those who celebrate Hanukkah.
Insights from an Autistic Woman on How to Deal with Holiday Stressors
In this first-person essay, Kimberly Gerry Tucker writes about her personal experience dealing with the challenges that the holidays can bring due to the need to adjust routines, deal with extra stimulus, and manage changes in social expectations. Tucker’s art is also featured throughout the story, adding another level of expression and insight.
12 Days of Coping with the Holidays
Comments and ‘friendly advice’ from extended family members about your parenting style, the abilities of your child or your boundaries often ramp up during the holidays. Get some help dealing with your own feelings and those of your extended family.
Reducing Holiday Stress
The Marcus Autism Centre has put together some tips for families to help their child practice and prepare for holiday traditions such as gift giving, decorating and hosting family or friends. They also have tips for those who may be flying or driving long distances.