The Holidays: The most “Fun” time of year

Ah the holidays, the time for family, turkey, xmas lights and tons of overloading sensory experiences. This can be an especially difficult time of year for someone with Aspergers, due to the combination of smells, sights, tastes, and social behaviors expected, not to mention all of the relatives who don’t quite understand Aspergers.  Here are some simple solutions that you can use to make this fun, yet stressful time more fun, and less stressful:

1. Let your child take frequent breaks – It is really important to let your Aspergers child take frequent breaks. Set up an area of the house where they can be alone and not bothered. This area should have minimal noise, controllable lighting, and no strong smells. This is really important, because of the fact that it is very easy to get over stimulated if you have Aspergers, and then some time to decompress is required. Do not limit the number of breaks your child can take.

2. Be flexible with cooking – Holiday food tends to be especially fragrant. If your child has an issue with a particular food, consider making them something else, or just leaving off the seasoning and sauce. If the food becomes a serious sensory issue, it is better to just save it for another night, rather than go through the fight.

3. Tell your child what is coming next – If you are expecting a large group for a party, or grandma is coming to visit, or whatever it may be, make sure to explicitly tell your child what is going to happen, and what to expect. Then they do not have to deal with the stress of surprises and unfamiliar events.

9 thoughts on “The Holidays: The most “Fun” time of year

  1. My son never buys Christmas gifts. He is 33 years old and works part time. He did wrap up an old gift for his white elephant gift this year. (I thought he actually bought one.) When I told him that he needed to start early this year to buy a gift for his father brother and me for next year, he stormed out saying he was worthless. Why was that such a horrible request? and why did he not understand? I never seem to say the right thing.

  2. Earplugs are the best thing since sliced bread! Great advice, never hurts to be reminded, especially of #3. Never ASSume anything should be my mantra.

    We are getting better at understanding our son’s needs…so when he became uncooperative at bedtime on Christmas day, we decided to assume it was the overstimulation and changes in routine, and be a little extra flexible ourselves, and it all turned out all right.

  3. Thanks for all of your help. The holidays are always stressful for us and our son. Your suggestions have been most helpful.

  4. Thank you for the timely advice. I’m an extroverted people person married to a wonderful yet sensitive man with aspergers.

    This helps me remember he needs special time and space to be by himself during the upcoming holidays. I always try to anticipate and care for his sensory needs, so that he feels understood and supported. :). This helps me do that for him!

    I’ve even made a sensory kit for the car so he can decompress during the drives to and from,,, a nice blanket, sleep mask, ear plugs and PERMISSION to ‘check out’ for awhile, and I’ll drive.

    We appreciate you guys so much! Have a Merry Christmas and wonderful new year,

    Yours truly,

    Mrs. Billie Jean Templeton
    hibilliejean@yahoo.com

  5. Good reminders! When it starts getting busy during the holidays its easy to forget these kindof things and we will ALL enjoy the holidays more if we include these things in our planning. Thanks!!

  6. Excellent advice … learn from the best 🙂 You guys really rock!!!! All the best for Xmas. I look forward to learning more from you, and am following your footsteps as best I can.

    xoxox

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