Christmas is a time for joy and spending time with family however for some people or small children with social anxiety, communication impairments, developmental delay, Christmas can completely overwhelming.
Why? because of change to routine, crowds, noise, lights, people they don’t know too well wanting to kiss and hug you, the list goes on.
Here a few simple tips to help prepare, process and participate in Christmas Day activities.
A Social Story is a great tool to help a person understand a social situation and what is expected of them. A social story can explain why we receive presents and spend time with family on Christmas Day.
A social story can also explain the sequence of events for the day. Make sure you have clear images and keep wording to keywords only.
Read more about Social Stories here.
Christmas Day Picture Schedule
A picture sequence of what is going to happen on the day can assist with transitioning, relieving anxiety and behaviours.
Most importantly a visual sequence will help the person prepare for what is coming next. Take the visual sequence with you when you go to Granmas, church or visiting family members.
Weekly Pictorial Schedule
In my opinion, everyone who is non-verbal, has limited language or a language impairment should have access to a visual Weekly and Daily Schedule, this might be a schedule with text or a pictorial schedule.
Supporting acceptable behavior and social skills
Carry with you visual picture cards that prompt acceptable behavior and visuals to help read and understand social cues.
Some visual picture cards that may help:
Finish symbol – a great tool to use for helping someone prepare for the end of an activity or event.
Greeting – a picture of a person saying hello, might prompt your child or the person you are supporting to say hello or greet a family member. Use a picture to prompt someone to say Goodbye.
Sharing picture – a visual prompt of two people sharing in conjunction with modeling to share new things is a powerful resource.
Stop Symbol – A visual is a concrete form of communication, if you need someone to stop what they are doing for their own safety or the safety of someone else, show the stop symbol for faster processing.
Keep in mind that spending time with extended family and friends, listening to carols and attending traditional religious events at this time may be fun for some but for others, it can be extremely overwhelming especially if you have auditory processing difficulties, Autism Spectrum Disorders, language and/or learning developmental delay. Preparation is the key!
May you all have a safe, carefree Christmas.
Till next time
Alison – Mother, Blogger, Founder – See-n-Speak Visual Communication Aids www.seeandspeak.com.au