For many children on the autism spectrum Christmas may be a time for stress and anxiety, with the on-going chaos and sensory overload the Festive Season provides.
However there are strategies that parents of autistic children can put in place to help their child cope.
Typically children with autism spectrum disorder ARE visual thinkers and learners; this means that they use speech/language secondary and visual information as a primary means of communication.
So how does this help us at Christmas!
Generally for children on the autism spectrum Christmas is unpredictable, and it is this unpredictability that CAN cause the most distress.
Using VISUAL autistic supports can help.
Characteristically children with autism spectrum disorder prefer structure and routines and dislike changes. Visual autistic supports CAN help balance the unpredictability of Christmas and make the Festive Season more predictable and structured.
Commonly parents of autistic children struggle to find suitable supports for Christmas and autism spectrum disorder. However, the internet NOW makes it a lot easier for parents to source suitable information and autism supports.
Using autism supports for Christmas
Visual Timetables: Can be used to show a count-down to Christmas, the visual timetable can be used to help the child with ASD visually see what is happening each day on the run up to Christmas, for example buying the tree, putting up the tree, decorating the house, a school play, party and so on.
Photos: Show your child with ASD photographs of last year and how you celebrated to remind them of how the Festive Season is going to be.
Visual Social Story Cards: Can be introduced to help the child with ASD deal with changes to routines, learning new skills and coping with unpredictability. Visual social story cards ARE small laminated story cards which act like a framework of a skill or situation for example the school play. The story card can help the child to understand what is happening and what is expected of them.
Autism social skills stories: Probably the most significant of the autism supports for Christmas. Autism social skills stories answer the “wh” questions – who, what, where, when and why as well as “ HOW” and offer an insight into the thoughts and feelings of others. The social skills story is a short descriptive story from the autistic child’s point of view which uses visual images to show how and why something is happening and how the autistic child can deal with this, as well as what other people will be expecting of them.
Visual flash cards – PECS: These can be used to help communication difficulties during the festive season.
There are of cause other visual autistic supports that can be sourced on the internet.
Christmas need not be too stressful once the right visual autistic supports are put in place. To find suitable autistic supports like: Autism social skills stories for Christmas as well as visual social story cards visit: http://www.autismsocialstories.com/christmas
These Autism social skills stories for Christmas CAN be edited, personalized, downloaded and printed for convenience.