The Christmas holidays are a time of great excitement and anticipation. Holidays also mean changes in the schedule, visitors, crowds, line-ups, noise, and socializing. For children with ASD, the Christmas holidays can be a stressful and anxious time. Meeting family demands can be especially nerve-wracking, particularly if you want to break with time-honoured traditions that just don’t work for a child with autism. Here are a few ideas for making the holidays happy.

Family Expectations – Be clear with other family members what will and won’t work and make a compromise. For example, my mother wants us to spend most of the day on December 24th at her house, then go to an evening mass. To get a seat, you have to be there one hour before the mass starts. I know this will be too much for my two children on the spectrum so I’ve opted to just spend the afternoon at Grandma’s, then go home for a quiet, family dinner on our own. We’ll still see the family, just not for the same amount of time everyone else will.

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