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Autism and Christmas Making it easier

IMG_0748 Autism – Tips for coping with Christmas

While Christmas is usually a magical time for neurotypical children, it often causes a great deal of distress and worry to those with autism. Too much sensory input and a change of routine are often overwhelming to an individual having autism.
The great news is there are a few really simple steps that can make Christmas easier for your child. These actions will ensure that the whole family is able to enjoy this wonderful time of the year. The tips below will keep meltdowns to a minimum.
1. Highlight on your child’s planner the days leading up to Christmas, marking the day the decorations will go up, when presents will be wrapped and when family will arrive, etc.

2. Decorate the house over several days if your child finds change particularly difficult.

3. Limit the time spent each day on Christmas activities. Sticking to a normal routine for some of the time lowers anxiety.

4. Keep one room in the house completely free of decorations. This will be a place of calm where your child can go if a break is needed. You could also encourage siblings to put decorations, trees and lights in their own bedrooms.

5. Involve your child in the activities – even if they are just watching.

6. Some children become really stressed by having surprise presents. If your child does not cope with surprises why not let them choose their gifts and help you wrap up their presents ready for Christmas.

7. Keep some time in each day where the normal routine is allowed to happen.

These simply strategies can greatly help your child manage and even gain some enjoyment of Christmas.

If you have a specific question you are struggling with the team at Lighthouse Autism are happy to help.    Tel: 061 518448  email

Lighthouse Autism is an independent provider of autism psychological diagnostic and intervention services based in Co Clare. We provide learning disability assessments throughout Ireland.

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