Thursday, December 16, 2010
Holidays seem to be a difficult time of year for anyone with autism. Daily structure and consistency are helpful tools to prevent anxiety. If stress and frustration are a part of Holiday anxiety, re-direction may stop a meltdown before it begins. This takes planning ahead of time, but it is well worth it. Even though the Holidays are close by, there is time to make a plan. Transitions during visiting will be easier if an explanation is offered ahead of time. Input from a child, such as: "what will help you get through the next day?" may give you invaluable information. Some ideas we have used successfully include: plenty of rest, planned break times, limiting sweets, listening to soft music, reading a favorite book, and keeping our own anxiety in check! There have been times while we were visiting we found it necessary to shorten the length of our visit. Rarely, have we had to postpone due to a meltdown before we leave for our trip. A helpful tip would be to mention this to your host and answer any questions they may have a few days before the visit. If your child tolerates the transitions well, everyone will enjoy the time they spend together. These are the strategies we use, but you may have some other great tips. Please comment and include the strategies which work well for you.