Christmas can be a really stressful time. It had a kind of duality to it because it can also be a time where you feel more included in society. I am hoping that this post can be used to get tips and advice to help caregivers make Christmas easier.
I spoke to some autistic adults about this subject and these are just some of the points we agreed on.
• Surprises are rarely a good thing, it can be positive but the unknown often causes stress
• Being centre of attention is often difficult. I think this is because when you’re younger you get attention even when you don’t want it. That makes being singled out difficult, so it may be best to allow an autistic child to open presents on their own
• Scheduled days are tough too because it really depends on your headspace on that day, whether you’re comfortable or not
• High pitched Christmas themed ornaments can cause audible sensory reactions
• Christmas lights can be great but it’s better to go during times where there aren’t a lot of people around
• Have things in their rooms, small presents to open, something to play with or watch so that if they wake up early they don’t wake up everyone
• Family gatherings can be overwhelming, maybe let your child go to their room and family visit them on an individual basis
If you are autistic or a caregiver that has suggestions or tips please comment on the main post. My hope is to get together a collection of information that makes Christmas a wonderful experience for autistic children.
All our best and love
Ross Fraser and Jeni Curtis
Words – Ross A Fraser