Sunday, December 18, 2011

Our SPD Christmas Survival Plan

One thing I have noticed about the holiday season is how overwhelming Christmas can be for a child with SPD or Autism. The lights, the presents, the stress, the noise and travel all add up and while it might not lead to a melt down on Christmas the days following are typically when we see the results of Christmas. This year we thought about previous Christmas' to help us determine what to do this year. Here is what we decided:

  • Anticipation of celebration is very high and so we decided to skip Christmas service. We know church is going to be more full than normal as 2 services combine into one. Add people with loud music and chaos and it just doesn't work for our child that well. If it was mellower then we'd consider but our church has grown considerably. Not to mention the anticipation to get home. Instead we decided to stay home and do the Christmas story with our kids.
  • We decided NOT to go to relatives on Christmas day. We will drop by on Christmas Eve but once again the preparation to go and come home is a lot of work when you multiply it by 3 children. This isn't something that is always taken lightly at other family members house especially if you are breaking tradition but sometimes it's good to pull back on a day that is going to be out of schedule for your child.
  • Rather than fussing with reading name tags on presents this year we decided to go and wrap presents without name tags. We instead allowed the kids to pick a character wrapping paper. This we're experiementing with in hopes that the kids will quit trying to open one another's presents due to the inability to read.
  • We decided to also not put presents under the tree until Christmas Eve. We also decided that our motion detector will be put up on Christmas Eve as well in case we have some early birds.
  • Lastly, we chose our children's presents this year different. We kept in mind two questions:
    • WHAT WILL HELP THEM WITH THIER SPD ISSUES - This will help me throughout the year as well as doing OT or PT with them.
    • WHAT WILL LAST - This just happens to be something that is common sense. More expensive but longer lasting meaning cost effectiveness especially seeing it's less destructable.
Overall, things this year we're also trying to be more laid back about. We've talked to our kids and let them know that the house has to be CLEAN before Christmas presents. Having things clean means that things can easily be put away and there is room to play  not to mention one of our gifts to them is a climbing toy made of what looks like colored PVC piping. We need room which means that the house has to be clean to set it up.

We're also going to be changing the food we eat to a less snack type food to a more healthy focused Christmas. Sure we'll have goodies but just not all the food that is considered 'junk'. We also limited candy this year as well because our kids scour the house looking for it at all hours.

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