Christmas is a great time for spending time with the family and celebrating traditions such as a big Christmas meal, present giving/receiving and of course playing the traditional family board game! (Monopoly is one of our favourites here at Apollo HQ!)
For those with autism it can be quite a stressful time, with changes to daily routines which can cause headaches for parents trying to get children to co-operate. In blogs we’ve written about how planning is always essential to curtail any unnecessary stress, the same goes over the festive period so you can make it both fun and enjoyable for all.
We’ve put together our top 5 tips for enjoying the festive period:
Look out for ‘Autism Hours’ at large retail stores during Christmas shopping
Back in October, The National Autistic Society, engaged with retailers to provide accessible options for those with Autism. This included putting on extra helpful staff who could accommodate peoples needs such as turning off music in the store, personally helping guide customers to what they needed and dimming lights if needed. The push by The National Autistic Society was endorsed by the Prime Minister of the UK and trended significantly across social media.
Look out in 2018 for more stores joining this revolution in the way people with Autism can have a comfortable, safe and stress-free shopping experience. Head over to the official website to find out more:
Plan and setup routines and schedules
Keep things together by planning routines and schedules. If visiting family is part of the agenda, make sure you use techniques that work for you and your family. Make sure to remind your child of activities that are happening soon and at what times, this can keep them relaxed as they know exactly what is happening and when.
Don’t worry too much if things don’t work straight away, families develop schedules over many years through trial and error, continue doing things that work, adapt the ones that don’t.
Talk to Family, Friends and Visitors about your routine
Explain to family, friends and visitors (where you can) about your routine and explain the reasons for doing it. This can be approached by talking to them openly about Autism and how it helps your child. People will be more supportive, and it will with actively engaging them about Autism.
You may even get offers to help with the routine to help things go smoother, giving you the chance to have a relaxing Christmas experience.
Use sensory equipment to your advantage
As manufacturers of sensory equipment including Bubble Tubes, Interactive Wall Panels and Fibre Optic Lights, we understand the benefits they can have on people with autism. Reducing stress, focusing attention and cognitive learning can be benefitted from sensory equipment if used correctly.
Get your child involved as much as possible
Getting your child involved as much as possible over the festive period can be a rewarding exercise. Cooking, planning and even gift wrapping can all be part of the process. This will also be an investment in their future, as they get used to all the festive traditions. Cooking is a great activity to do together on Christmas day as it gets all the senses involved!
We hope that you find these tips useful and would love to hear about your experiences over the Christmas period. From all of us at Apollo Creative, we wish you Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Ps. We are closed from 22nd December and will re-open 2nd January, see you then!