For many children, Christmas is a special and exciting time of year filled with plenty of fun and excitement from the magic surrounding Father Christmas, to receiving gifts and seeing members of the family who they don’t often get to see.
However, for children with autism who are used to routine and are likely to be hypersensitive to noise, taste, touch, smell or bright lights, the Christmas period can be a very stressful time.
So how can you make Christmas more autism-friendly for your child? Take a look at our advice for two key events during Christmas.
Many primary and secondary schools across the country will host Christmas parties for their students. The parties often include party games and different food which can be particularly challenging for a child with autism so they may not immediately want to join in with the party, or may not understand the rules of the games.
It’s not uncommon to see responses such as becoming overly competitive with other students, getting frustrated or upset and wanting to leave the party. What can cause the most stress for an autistic child is the disruption to their usual routine. Its therefore important to prepare the child for the change well in advance to help them to feel as comfortable as possible.
Christmas is often the only time of year when the whole family reunites. Aunties, uncles, grandparents and cousins who may live further away are unfamiliar to a child with autism, and can cause confusion and distress if they’re not prepared.
With this comes an attack on the senses; loud noises, new smells and sights which can all add to the upset. All in all, occasions like this can be a big disruption to the usual routine.
These tips are just some of the ways you can help your autistic child feel more comfortable in an environment which could prove challenging.
For more details on Aspris Children's Services, please call 0118 970 8068 or click here to make an enquiry.
Many thanks to Aspris Children's Services for thier kind permission for the use of this article