The holidays are upon us! The weeks ahead are full of opportunities for family traditions. It is a great time of year to involve your child in making special memories with you. A little planning ahead goes a long way toward making it a positive experience. Before you begin, decide on a role in the holiday activity that your child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can do competently. Take some time now to list the traditions you want to do with your family or one-on-one with your child. My list includes picking out a Christmas tree, decorating the tree, putting up the nativity scene, and making gingerbread men with my son.
Kat Lee reminded us in her recent webinar, “Making Holiday Memories”, of the importance of breaking activities into simpler steps. Once you have the steps listed, you can choose the ones which your child will be able to do. For example, in making gingerbread men, your child may be able to stir the batter, knead the dough, help roll it out, and decorate. The right steps to choose will depend on your child’s developmental readiness and skills. (Hint: If the role turns out to be too difficult and your child gets frustrated, you can always invite your child back and simplify.)
List the steps for one of your traditions. Circle the step(s) that you think your child can manage. You’re on your way!
This exercise will help make this holiday season a joyful one for you and your child. Remember to take a picture or video during your holiday tradition so that you and your child can talk about it later. This helps solidify your child’s memories of success. You will both enjoy remembering the warm feelings you shared over the holidays.