For some children, Christmas is a difficult time to comprehend.
I was reading an article today over on the BBC news site about a child who finds Christmas difficult, a child who reportable has ASD.
This got me thinking
This got me thinking about how little Mr. has always struggled when it came to Christmas. The change in the house, decorations, and the tree, getting presents and just the way not so little Miss is excited to open them.
We’ve not had one Christmas yet where he has fully opened a present on his own, generally his sister helps. Last year he did half open one or two so that was a big thing.
We have learned a few things on the way through, that does help us.
- We put the tree up overnight while he is asleep, then our daughter and my wife decorate it the next day.
- We keep decoration as minimum as possible and generally only in the front room.
- We accept that he won’t open his presents, or if he does not all in one go. It can take days.
- The gifts we buy may not be played with for a month or two.
- We put no pressure on him to accept Christmas, for him it’s just another day.
Just these few things make it easier for him. We noticed, even from a very early age that he didn’t even take notice of presents, so we let him go at his speed with his sister to help.
It’s the small things that help
The putting up of the tree used to be a big thing. He would have a meltdown as the room changed. So now, he comes down in the morning and it’s already done, this seems to help. He does love the decorations when they are up – and then down and up and down.
Just doing the decorations in the one room so that all the rest of the house doesn’t change – giving him space to go to (other than just one room) where he can’t get overwhelmed with decorations.
Giving him plenty of time to open his presents – if he wants too, or if not we let him open in his own time. Not forcing him to play with is new toys.
These are the small things that help him (and us) through the change of Christmas. This year we have the added, extra, change of him not going to school for 2 weeks – this is a big change in routine – then the change when he does go back. These are the things we have to think about as it is a difficulty for little Mr. to understand during this holiday.
The thing to remember is…
when your child has ASD – you need to change how you do Christmas to help them through it. Each child is different, so some of the 5 listed things above may help, but some (or all) may not suit your situation. This whole post is, I hope, making you think what you can do different – help your son or daughter enjoy the Christmas period and hopefully no meltdowns will happen.
I recently came across the following quote
“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”
― Maya Angelou
This is my new goal in life. Not to conform to be normal, but to be amazing and I hope to inspire you to be amazing too.