As a mom of a teen with autism, modifying plans is nothing new. Holidays bring those modifications to a whole new level. While we’re excited to see family and friends at Thanksgiving, these gatherings are oftentimes overwhelming and stressful. Here are some tips we hope are helpful for you.
- Try Hosting At Your Home
Yes, hosting a big meal can be a monumental task, with a lot of expense and planning. It can be the best option for your family to keep you or your loved one with autism comfortable. The advantage of hosting is staying in a familiar environment and controlling the menu
If you are not hosting, try some or all of these to help make the day enjoyable.
- Make A Sensory Kit
It seems like we all have extra tote or drawstring bags around the house. Grab one and put some of your loved ones favorite comfort items inside. Do they need their noise cancelling headphones if holiday conversations get a little too boisterous? Is there a certain sensory item that always seems to calm them? Grab those items, along with favorite sensory toys, throw them in your bag, and you have a sensory kit. This wouldn’t just help at Thanksgiving. You can keep this kit in the car and have it for any situation that may not be totally sensory friendly.
- Check Out The Menu
We know that autism can mean special diets and picky eaters. Hopefully you’re going to another home with an understanding host. Talk to them beforehand. Explain you or your child’s dietary restrictions, and see if there is something that is already within that diet. If not, ask to bring a little lunch box of favorite foods that you or your loved one can eat during mealtime.
- Ask About A Safe Space
When talking to the host about the menu, also ask about a possible quiet spot. Hopefully there is a guest bedroom, home office, or quiet corner to set up with the sensory kit you have, just in case things get overly celebratory.
- It’s OK To Say No
Sometimes simplifying can be fun and easier. If invited somewhere, and you just don’t think your family has it in you to pregame with all of the necessary sensory things, it’s ok to say “no thanks” and have a quiet holiday at home, with just you. Take a year to enjoy the quiet and a break from the usual holiday hustle and bustle.
As always if you have questions or concerns, please contact us. We’re here for you for all of your needs.