THANKSGIVING FOR A CHILD with Autism - Square One Behavioral Services


Although holidays are seen in anticipation and celebration for many families, families with children on the autism spectrum may have mixed feelings. It’s best to prepare for what you might predict during the holiday season, and expect the unexpected. Children on the autism spectrum thrive on routines and on an equal basis, and during holidays, children are taken out of their comfort zones. (For example, there are many people in unfamiliar locations and different foods are served.) Changes to their daily routines and atmosphere can be daunting and cause anxiety. 

Here is what could be going on in your child’s head:

It’s going to be a difficult day. I’m not going to school, Mom and Dad are not going to work. It’s not a Saturday or a Sunday, so our usual weekend routine doesn’t happen. We’ve got a long drive and maybe there’s a lot of traffic. I’m not going to be able to play on the computer like I normally do every afternoon. Dinner is going to be eaten earlier than I eat at home. The food is going to be different, and I may not like it. There are going to be a lot of people wanting to talk to me and it’s probably going to be pretty loud. Everyone’s going to be busy, and I’m not going to know what to do.

Prep ahead of time for the day and begin talking about it early. Here are some suggestions to make it simpler for the whole family:

Take the food you know your child is going to love. Though Thanksgiving is a favorite for many of us, not all children on the autism spectrum enjoy turkey with all the trimmings. This is going to be one less thing to deal with.
When he or she wants a break from the crowd, consider finding a quiet place where your child can go. Try having this conversation with your host or hostess before the event so that they can make the space or area of their home quiet, safe and comfortable for your kid.
Is your child going to be able to sit at the dinner table as long as it takes others to enjoy their meal? Mention to your host that your child can not be able to sit and inquire if he or she should be excused early for too long.
Prepare an exit strategy with your partner. You should already know how long your child will last at this type of event. Some parents find it beneficial to drive separate cars just in case their child needs to leave earlier than expected or planned.

Now servicing WestPalm Beach, Palm Beach County, Lantana, Boca Raton, Wellington, Greenacres, Lake Worth, South Florida. ABA Therapy nearby ready to take your child’s needs to the next level. 

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