Diwali is just around the corner and you’ll soon be getting together with family and friends to celebrate. However, the holidays can be challenging for a child with special needs. Here are our tips for making holiday gatherings easier for your child.
When visiting others, pack a lunchbox with foods you know your child will eat, in case he / she doesn’t like the food that’s served. This will also prevent hunger, which can cause additional problems for your child.
Holidays are a time to enjoy foods we don’t have on a regular basis. But your child may not like the smell and sight of these foods, which are so different from the things he or she usually eats. Avoid an unpleasant scene by letting your child eat ahead of time and then allowing your child to do something else while others are enjoying their meal. If this isn’t possible, try to seat your child away from the table and keep him or her distracted with a book or toy and provide the foods that he / she prefers.
Keep your child’s favorite comfort items on hand and be sure to take them with you when you are visiting family and friends. These comfort items can include noise-cancelling headphones, music or stories that put your child at ease, a stress ball, play dough or any other item that helps your child relax.
Identify a quiet room or space that your child can escape to when feeling overwhelmed. You can do this in your own home and even in the homes of your relatives and friends, but other guests need to know that the space is off limits when your child is there. Teach your child to recognize when he / she starts to feel overwhelmed and needs some safe space, so it comes more easily to him / her when outside the home. In a small home, even a bathroom can offer a few minutes of quiet for a child whose nerves are frazzled.