AARC Tip of the Month - November 2017
Surviving the Holidays

While the holidays are a time for family, they can often be stressful for people who have autism. The following tips might be helpful for you and/or your family.

Preventing a Holiday Meltdown
Holidays can lead to many changes in routine that can create anxiety and meltdowns. There are things that you and your family can do to help lessen anxiety and prevent meltdowns. The following is a list of ideas that have been found to be helpful in lessening holiday anxiety:
  • Create your own family holiday traditions instead of trying to adjust your child to existing traditions. You might allow your child to skip the chaos of opening presents, or hold the holiday meal at your house.
  • Speak up ahead of time. Call or email your family and let them know anything that might make things easier. This could be identifying a quiet place your child can go to if things are loud, or having foods that your child likes on hand.
  • Have an escape route. Know what you are going to do if your child does have a meltdown. This may mean taking two separate cars, or having someone sit and read a book in a quiet room with your child.
  • Special diets and holidays don't always mix. Bring plenty of treats that your child can enjoy, and ask your family to keep treats that are super tempting -but off-limits to your child - off the main table. Family members can enjoy the treats discreetly, and your child doesn't see what he/she can't have.
Visiting Family and Friends
The holidays are all about being with family and enjoying the festivities, but this can be very difficult for a child with autism. This means that, as a parent, you will have to take some precautions. Here are some tips for visiting with friends and family with your child:
  • Plan visits with family and friends for short periods of time. This will help to keep your child from becoming overtired, overwhelmed, or bored.
  • Spread visits out over many days rather than trying to see many people all at one time.
Books of the Month:
The books of the month are available in the Special Education Service Agency (SESA) Library. Search for books on the  SESA website, or contact our Librarian, Anne Freitag, at  afreitag@sesa.org  or  907-334-1301 

Electronic books may be accessed from anywhere in the state. If you've used our ebooks before,  go to the login page here.  If you haven't, please contact Anne so she can set up a username and password for you.  Learn more about ebooks here.

You can also look for additional articles in a variety of databases by using SLED, which is available for free for all Alaskans:  http://lam.alaska.gov/sled
Autism & PDD Concept Development: Toys and entertainment
By: Pam Britton Reese, Nena C. Challener
LinguiSystems, 2001. 
ISBN: 076060391X

Description: " Children with ASD and developmental disabilities can visualize the essential features and attributes of toys and entertainment items with these illustrated, step-by-step lessons. " - publisher's website .
The Everything Parent's Guide to Children with Autism: Know what to expect, find the help you need, and get through the day
By: Adelle Jameson Tilton
Adams Media, 2004.
ISBN: 1593370415

Description:  Description: This book includes a chapter on dealing with holidays, religious services, and vacations.
Make Social Learning Stick!: How to guide and nurture social competence through everyday routines and activities
By: Elizabeth A. Sautter
ISBN: 9781937473839

Description:   A series of activities parents can easily fit into everyday routines as a way to help children gain and improve social competence. Arranged around three major themes: at home, in the community, and holidays and special events. - Publisher.
mister rogers parenting book
The Mister Rogers Parenting Book: Helping to understand your young child
By: Fred Rogers
Running Press, 2002.
ISBN:  9780762413454

Description: Discusses the concerns of contemporary parents, including mealtime behavior, television rules, making friends, divorce, and tragic events in the news.
Raising Martians - From Crash-Landing to Leaving Home: How to help a child with Asperger's syndrome or high-functioning autism
By: Joshua Muggleton
ISBN:  9781849050029

Description: Provides tips and guidance for parents of children with Asperger syndrome and high functioning autism, based on the author's personal experiences with Asperger syndrome, and covering friendships and social situations; holidays; anxiety; sensory issues; school; bullying; and related topics.
Tasks galore
Tasks galore series
By: Laurie Eckenrode [and others]

Description: This series of books has photographs of set-up activities for individuals or groups. There are a lot of creative ideas and they may be helpful in keeping kids engaged over the winter break.
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