We made it through Halloween; now we have Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s around the corner. While this is a festive time of the year, even as a neurotypical and able-bodied adult, I can feel overwhelmed by the amount of parties, activities and family gatherings. Most kids find it hard to get regulated with the excitement of the celebrations. For kids with disabilities, feeling regulated can be especially challenging.
I parent two children with disabilities, and for my kids, this holiday season means there is too much, too fast, too loud.
In the last few years, we have established our own family traditions — traditions that work for our kids and that often involve only our family of five. The truth is, some of these traditions have become my favorite, and we look forward to them every year. We have also learned what works and what doesn’t work for our family, and we have adapted to fit the needs of our kids.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by the thought of this holiday season and how your children with disabilities will manage, you might find the following tips helpful:
1. Plan ahead.
Most of us who parent kids with disabilities are used to planning ahead for most activities outside our home. The holiday season means we need to plan even more.
Some questions to consider:
Where is the gathering taking place? Will your child need their noise-cancelling head phones? Will there be a place where your child can retreat to have alone time away from other people? Is the building/home accessible? Do you need adaptive equipment? Do you need to bring food for your child? Do you need to contact family members or friends to remind them of details concerning your child?
“Make sure to remind family what topics are appropriate and not appropriate to talk about with my child. Age appropriate is not always appropriate for a child with a disability.” — Audra G.
credits to The Mighty