Holiday Tips for Families of Autistic Children: Transitions Talks with Priya

20 Dec by Transition USA

Holiday Tips for Families of Autistic Children: Transitions Talks with Priya

How to Make the Holidays Easier for Neurodiverse People

The holidays can be an enjoyable time of celebration for many people, but can be stressful for others. Depending on the circumstances and relationships people have with their family and friends, the holidays aren’t always an enjoyable experience for everyone. This can be even more difficult for neurodiverse individuals who may struggle to manage stress or anxiety. I’d like to offer some tips for neurodiverse individuals and their family members to make the holidays more enjoyable for everyone.

  1. Set boundaries, and don’t be afraid to say no!
    1. It is okay to express how you feel. For example, if family members or others are making comments or asking questions that make you uncomfortable, it is okay to say so! You can address it by contacting them after you leave the event if you feel more comfortable handling it that way. If you don’t feel like eating something that was offered, it is okay to say no thank you. It is better to do this than pretend to enjoy it.

      Remember, you are not obligated to stay anywhere or be in a situation that makes you uneasy. You can even decline an invitation. Have a plan to leave an event or situation if you need to. It is also okay to say that you don’t want to hug or kiss someone. It will be harder for you to enjoy the company of others if you are feeling pressure to put yourself in a situation that you’re not okay with.
  2. Find a spot for breaks.
    1. If you are visiting someone, find a spot in their home where you can step away from the lights, people, and sounds to take a break if you need it. You can ask your host to help you find a spot for this. This will allow you to relax and decompress. Bring something that will help you during these breaks, like a book to read, a sketchbook for drawing, or a device for listening
  3. Plan for gifts.
    1. If you are buying gifts for others, you may want to set aside a budget based on your income, the list of people you wish to purchase gifts for, and how much money you’re willing to spend on each person. Remember, you are not obligated to buy expensive gifts. Think more about what each person might remember and enjoy. Also, plan to shop ahead of time as much as possible to hopefully avoid the crowds and rush of the height of the holiday shopping season.
  4. Bring a game for everyone.
    1. Bringing a game or activity for everyone can bring people together without an overabundance of pressure to have conversations. A movie for the family to watch together is another option. Offer a few options for this so people can make a comfortable choice.
  5. Have an ally.
    1. Identify one person you will be spending time with during the holidays that supports you. This person should be respectful of your boundaries and someone who encourages you to set them with your family. You can speak to them about any anticipated issues beforehand. You can ask to invite a friend to a holiday event as your ally as well.

These are just some ways to make this time of year a little easier. On behalf of myself and the rest of the team at Transitions, we wish you and your family a wonderful and enjoyable holiday. We hope that 2022 brings you joy and happiness!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *