November is here! Where did 2019 go? We’ve already had one family gathering and it was NOT the best we’ve ever had. How do you deal with the sensory challenges? It’s too loud! It’s too hot! It’s too squishy at this table! It’s too bright! I don’t like those kinds of potatoes! This tastes yucky! What is that smell?
Ahhh, holidays and family! You gotta love them right? Some people want their children to learn to enjoy Holiday food and traditions. Well, I’m not one to add extra stress to my plate, so I have just accepted the fact that my oldest, will most times bring his “lunch” with him to the gathering. This includes a sandwich, (egg salad or ham) a vegetable, a fruit, chips and a drink. Not to forget the spoon, fork AND napkin. (Even if he knows he will not need the silverware!) Granted there MAY be something that he likes or wants to try that day, BUT at least he has his “lunch” ready in case there isn’t anything that looks or SMELLS good to him. FYI – Don’t call it a “lunch” if it isn’t eaten for lunch… but that is a whole different can of worms! My husband and I agree that if someone is hungry… that is definitely a road we don’t want to travel down at a family party! ALWAYS have SOMETHING you know they will eat! Family members probably have their own ideas of how it should be done, but, to us, tradition isn’t the most important thing when it comes to holiday celebrations. Expecting our kiddos to eat new things that could have something contradicting to their sensory needs not to mention our Gluten Free, Dairy Free lifestyle is just too hard some days. And as I read somewhere, if you want your child to have successful and positive gatherings in the future, it is better that they have less stress and happy experiences now. Set them up for success! Once they feel good about succeeding one time, that feeling goes a long way towards less anxiety and positive outcomes in the future.
The links below are just some advice from different professionals and advocates regarding planning and care for the stress of the holidays. (Hit ctrl and click your mouse to open and read the article.)
Here is a listing of topics that have been sent to the Therapists at the Autism Society of MN. One for each month… some interesting thoughts on what to do with holiday stress.
Autism Speaks provides a safety plan for how to approach the holidays. https://www.autismspeaks.org/blog/holiday-safety-plan
Support for food issues from Indiana University. https://www.iidc.indiana.edu/pages/mealtime-and-children-on-the-autism-spectrum-beyond-picky-fussy-and-fads
An advocate shares tips regarding sensory and Thanksgiving. http://adoptiontolife.com/2018/sensory-sensitive-thanksgiving
Tune in next month for how to deal with clutter and stuff!
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