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“Do not ignore an event that might yield great growth for your child. Try that holiday parade this year even if you are afraid…great growth comes from taking chances.”

Happy Holidays By: Dr. Lynn Adams

“Happy” Holidays: How to try and have them with a child on the spectrum!

HAPPY You already know what keeps your child happy...sleep, structure, sensory work, visual supports… this is the time to make sure you are using all these strategies and more to keep you and your child happy through the upcoming holiday season. Hugh Prather wrote “A sure way to have a disastrous experience is to do something because it will be good for me.” At first reading this seems incongruous……

something good for us will be fun/ easy/quick/perfect...but on further reflection, we can see that what is good for us is often scary. Do not ignore an event that might yield great growth for your child. Try that holiday parade this year even if you are afraid…great growth comes from taking chances.

AWARE As you choose events and activities for the holidays, spend time being aware. That means think about the event in advance. What will potential positives of the event be? What are the potential pitfalls?

By listing the positives, you remain focused on WHY this event is important to your family. You keep your eye on the prize. By listing the potential pitfalls, you help yourself anticipate. You are less likely to be blindsided by problem behavior. And when that problem behavior appears, deal with it exactly as you would another day of the year. Changing the punishment just adds to the emotion and confusion of the moment. Be consistent...like always!

PLAN Mark the date of the event on the

calendar, unless of course, you like surprises. Let your child know about the event in a timely fashion. I know I know…..no one wants to be questioned repeatedly about anything so use YOUR judgment on when to share the details. Make a list of what you will need to do/ find/buy/pack/cook prior to the event. If you are running around in a tizzy, your child will be too! IF you are stressing out over the activity, your child will be too. If you are not happy, well….you see where this is going. YOU know it is the holiday season, but your child may not yet understand that things are supposed to be magically perfect. Yes, that was sarcasm...nothing needs to be perfect, it just needs to be!

PREPARE Make sure you have all the supplies/materials/stuff you need to make this happen. Have you packed that bag of favorite stimmy toys? Have you made sure you have needed and highly favored snacks? Now where is that portable visual schedule? Do you have his headphones so his exposure to noise can be controlled? Did you download that app to the device? Is the device charged? Where is that spare charger, anyway? Do you need the First/Then prompter? Where can your child get a needed sensory break during this event? How long a drive is it? Does your

child need a nap before you go to help with success? Do YOU need a nap before you go?

ENJOY Okay, I made that fit. Enjoy the heck out of the holidays. Revel in your child’s wonder at Santa and lights and trees and yummy treats. Rejoice when your child succeeds. Celebrate your child’s achievements, big and small. Praise your child when she makes a good

choice. Have a wonderful holiday season and be happy!


Behappy winter 2013 ssm digital issue