family caregivers of children with special needs struggle with trying to follow
holiday traditions given the other stressors in their lives.Here are some ways to make this time of the
year easier for families.
It doesn’t need to be the same
caregivers need to realize that their children can participate in holiday
festivities but maybe in a different way than has been traditional.Like school, holiday activities can be
modified to accommodate the special needs of their child.
vIf your child is on a
special diet for medical reasons, find out what is being served ahead of time
and bring a “safe” version so your child can still eat what everyone else is
children with special needs become overwhelmed by sensory issues (sights,
sounds, even smells.)When children with
disabilities get to the point of “too much”, often they act out as a way to
communicate.There are things parents
can do to reduce sensory over-stimulation and avoid these behaviors.
ØIn a crowded
event, sit or stand on the outside of the crowd to reduce the feeling of being
overwhelmed.Even if the child can only
participate for a short time, it’s better than not at all.
ØIf your child is
sensitive to noise, bring headphones.
ØIf your child is
overly sensitive to light, bring sunglasses.
find a quiet corner away from the main activity so the child can calm down and
even get overwhelmed by opening too many gifts.Open one or a few and save the rest to spread out over several days
instead of all at once.
will help prepare the child about what to expect.
people will understand if the child with disabilities doesn’t act
perfectly.If extended family members
insist on traditions such as sitting at the table, parents can take turns
eating.If grandparents or others still don’t
understand, it may be necessary to make a separate visit with just the family
and grandparents in a smaller group to keep things are calmer.Family caregivers need to remember that
special needs don’t go away just because it’s the holidays!
the Holidays with your Sanity Intact (One Place for Special Needs)