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Preparing for the Holiday Season
By Beverly Resurreccion

According to the latest estimates from the CDC, 1 in 68 children in the United States has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD),, many parents are facing new challenges this holiday season in addition to the distinct ones they encounter every day. Fortunately, these challenges can be met by taking some extra measures to assure their children are prepared for the holiday season.

Here are tips that can make huge differences for families during the holidays:

Review pictures from previous holidays. While you are reviewing pictures talk about the activities that are captured in the photos. For example, visiting Santa, lighting the menorah or opening gifts. Also, be sure to take photos of this year’s events to review next holiday season.

Practice, practice, practice. Role-play opening gifts and talk about why gifts are exchanged during the holidays. Providing specific information on holiday traditions is important to make these events more meaningful.

Watch movies, read books and sing songs about the holidays. Try to pick fun activities that are similar to events you will attend. Talk with your children about when and where they will be doing these activities.

Create appropriate wish lists. Create wish lists of fun, educational toys using content from magazines, advertisements and websites. Review this list with teachers and professionals that are part of your children’s lives. Then, send your relatives the list for gift ideas.

Lastly, and maybe most importantly, remember to relax and enjoy the holidays! Have fun together, focusing on time with family and making new memories.

Krystal McFee, MA, BCBA