The holidays may be difficult for children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) or autism.
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There are a lot of new elements in the holiday season that might cause a kid with autism to feel overwhelmed or anxious.
Traditional holiday activities, such as twinkling lights, new décor, unique odors in the house, music, and more people around at home or at holiday gatherings can be overwhelming for children with autism.
For some youngsters with autism, the five senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch might be experienced differently. Sensory input may overwhelm them more than it does other children.
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They may become overstimulated when the quantity of “stuff” in their environment exceeds what they are used to – such as lights, decorations, noise, and people. It might be overwhelming and induce sensory overload.
Despite the fact that sensory overload may be a concern during the holidays, children with autism and their families might enjoy them.
We’ll give you some ideas for how you can assist your child avoid and minimize any sensory over-stimulation this Christmas.
Consider Your Child’s Sensory Experiences When It Comes To Learning New Things
Consider what might set off your youngster’s temper or make him or her feel angry.
You can assist your youngster avoid those things that might set them off or help make a strategy to help your kid cope with those circumstances that may cause sensory overload by considering it ahead of time.
Identify Your Child’s Sensory Overload Triggers
Being proactive and planning ahead to avoid sensory overload is as simple as identifying your child’s irritants.
It’s important to note that sensory overload is a problem that develops gradually over time. It can be extremely helpful for your kid if you take the initiative to figure out what might cause sensory overload in him.
You know your child best, so you can make a significant difference in how he or she experiences the holiday season if you spend some time considering their triggers.
What Type of Eater Are You?
Is your youngster a sensory-seeker? If your kid is more sensitive to stimuli,.
This just indicates that they want to obtain more sensory stimulation, such as being eager to move around or enjoy deep pressure, or searching for specific kinds of sounds.
If your youngster is a sensory-avoider, they might be more hypersensitive to sensory input.
This means they want to get away from or avoid anything that produces a sensory experience, such as loud noises or rough fabrics.
Maybe they don’t want to be touched by others and thus can’t accept hugs from family or sit on Santa’s lap.
Consider how you and your child have dealt with similar situations in the past. Examine your child’s tendencies as well.
If you can figure out what has triggered your child to become overwhelmed or have a meltdown or otherwise indicate that they are distressed or annoyed while thinking about past events, you may be able to help your child avoid these triggers during the holiday season.
You may also utilize what you know about your child to come up with a list of items that, if triggered by them, might set off your child.
Consider the following when it comes to preparing ahead for potential sensory overstimulation during the holidays:
- Is it possible that your youngster would be frightened by a lot of lights or flashing lights?
- Does your youngster get overwhelmed when there is a lot of noise around them?
- Do your youngster have any scents that make them extremely uncomfortable?
- Is your youngster finicky about food? Can you make sure that your child does not find himself in a scenario where he is distressed about his diet?
- Is there anything your youngster won’t put on? Is it because he doesn’t like the feeling of something particular, such as silky material, rough wool, or chenille?
These are just a few questions to think about when attempting to avoid your child from being sensory overloaded over the holidays.
Talk about the sensory experiences linked to the holidays
Explain to your child about the activities and sights he or she may encounter or experience during the holidays.
Allow your youngster to speak with you about what they’re concerned about, what makes them more comfortable, and methods by which your kid can manage the sensory experiences connected with the holidays.
Sensory Needs Affected by Clothing Addressing
Keep an eye on what your kid is wearing and make sure it doesn’t make them feel uncomfortable.
Consider if your youngster is being forced to dress up for a holiday occasion when they are not interested in doing so. Is it really necessary for them to be dressed up for a holiday gathering when they aren’t interested? Can they wear their favorite clothes instead?
Plan What Your Child Will Eat
When it comes to eating or how to get through mealtimes, many children with autism have difficulties.
This is something to think about during the holidays, especially when it comes to meal preparation, cooking, eating, and socializing in a space where food is present.
Consider your child’s difficulties with or possible issues with food. Is it true that if you put a specific sort of food on their plate, your kid gets upset? Do they get flustered when the meal on their plate is touching? Are they nervous when they are required to eat in front of people they don’t know?
Is it possible to prepare food or snacks for holiday parties if your child prefers to eat only specific foods? Your youngster can still attend the event but without feeling compelled to eat or being expected to consume what everyone else is eating.
Take into account the different sensory needs connected with visual sensory input.
Is it possible to keep the visual stimulation to a minimum if this is something that might upset your youngster? If blinking lights cause your child anxiety, you might want to avoid placing them around the house.
However, if your child is into blinking lights and you’d want to use them as decorations to help your youngster celebrate the holiday season, this may be a good option.
Sensory Overload as a Result of Noise Exposure
Does noise tend to overwhelm your young child and cause him or her to be sensory overloaded? If this is the case, think about how you may give your child a quiet place during the holidays.
Can you make sure no one goes into the kid’s room when there is a holiday event at your home? This will allow your child to feel safer and more secure knowing that his personal space will not be used by others..
The third benefit is that he may go into his room when he wishes to get away from the noise and activity of the visitors during the celebration.
Balancing Personal Space and Participating in the Event
If you’re worried about your kid spending the party all alone in his room, set a limit for how long you want him to be in the main living area of the house.
Another option is to allow your youngster a set amount of time in his room during the ceremony, such as going into his room for no longer than 15 minutes three times on different days.
Whether you choose to allow your kid to remain in his room or leave the visitors for a holiday celebration is, of course, entirely up to you and what is best for your kid.
Consider how your kid can have some personal space and quiet time when you’re away at holiday gatherings outside of the house. Is there a quiet area where he may go when you’re at grandma’s home?
Structure to Holiday Events with the Help of a Social Media Calendar
Many kids with autism prefer order and consistency. Of course, some of these youngsters will have difficulties adjusting to a regimen at times, especially if the routine has not been well-established or is unfamiliar to them.
However, if structure and routine are provided in a manner that suits the child and his or her needs and capabilities, these youngsters may really profit.
You may utilize a child’s love of order and routine to help reduce sensory overloading during the holidays.
For instance, if you’re planning a holiday activity with your youngster and don’t have any particular knowledge about the series of events that will unfold at the event, this method might be useful.
Let’s take a look at how this concept can be utilized in practice. If your family’s tradition is to go to your grandma’s house with the extended family, you could assist them in anticipating what the gathering will generally look like. You might even make a timetable that includes both written and visual instructions of events.
If the order of events isn’t consistent, you might utilize a checklist system so that your youngster understands that once all of the tasks are finished, it’s time to go home. If you’re not sure when you’ll be leaving an event, let your child have alone or electronic play after everything on the list is done.
It’s a good idea to add things like eating supper, opening gifts, playing with other children, and so on to the schedule or checklist. It’s useful to be as detailed as possible.
If you’re not familiar with the theory of habit development, here’s a simple summary. Every morning, when you wake up, readjust your expectations to what is realistic in order for them to be more productive during the day and make better decisions. If your kid won’t hang out for 30 minutes? Recognize that this is just one example and
During the holidays, how can you help your child deal with a sensory overload?
Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for preventing a youngster from experiencing sensory overload during the holidays.
However, to assist your youngster manage his or her sensory experiences more effectively during the holiday season, we’ve compiled a list of suggestions for you to consider. Consider your child’s needs and abilities as well as what is in their best interests while planning for and going through this holidays.
By being proactive in your efforts to help your child avoid sensory overload during the holidays, you are assisting in making the season more enjoyable for you and your family.