With holidays fast approaching, I want to share my thoughts with our families and community. While the holiday season is filled with joy and merriment for many people, it can also be a stressful time--particularly for children, and most especially for children impacted by disabilities. Sometimes it is easy to forget that while decoration or celebration is fun and exciting, it may also be overwhelming or just too different for some kids.
In no way do I suggest NOT celebrating or NOT exposing kids to the holidays. I just like to make sure kids are prepared! This season is fun, and even if your family celebrates in non-traditional ways, these mainstream traditions are something they are potentially going to be exposed to in their community for many years to come!
So in the SRC, we try to prepare our kids for what they may see. We have social stories and activities for:
-Bright lights on houses
-Trees INSIDE houses
-Different songs on the radio
-Eating at the dinner table
-Visiting people we don’t see very often
-New people in our house
-Different people that we see, like Santa Claus
-Getting and giving presents
-Lots of “home days” and less time at school
With direct instruction on what to expect, and how we can calmly and safely participate (or politely decline), often times we see that the holiday season tends to go much smoother for families. Over the next month, your student will participate in activities designed to help them understand the changes in the community that they will be exposed to, and cope with those changes. In no way will we be providing any religious instruction, rather, social instruction on how to navigate the holiday season. If you have any questions or concerns about the holiday season, and how we intend to handle it, please let me know. Also, if you would like input on how to further prepare your child at home, feel free to ask.
One last note about holidays… this season tends to bring out the best and the worst in all of us. Even if things are happy and peaceful, we often will feel a little more anxiety about things that need to be done, or expectations we set for ourselves. This holiday season, keep in mind that your little ones notice your stress level (even when it is good stress). Allow yourself to enjoy those fun, exciting activities, but also remember to take time for those comforting routines.