The Easter period is a joyous time, a time to celebrate, spend time with family and for most, fill our belly’s with lots of yummy chocolate
Easter can also mean for some a time of change, change to routine, change to structure and what makes a person feel safe.
For people with Autism and language and learning impairments this change can cause anxiety and be catastrophic to their world.
Anxiety can sometimes lead to withdrawal, repetitive behaviours, tantrums, aggression and self harm.
Preparing for change over the Easter Period
As much as possible, ahead of time, try and prepare your child or the person you are supporting.
Sometime preparation is needed when we are in large groups or with family where there might be lots of noise.
Here are 5 simply ways for preparation of change.
Easter Social Story
Develop a social story that explains the reason we celebrate Easter and what the day will look like for them.
When writing a social story, you want to explain through pictures. Use clear pictures with short sentences and keywords.
If you have a lot planned during the Easter holiday explain through a social story, that it is ok to sometimes feel overwhelmed and have a strategy in place if they are feeling overwhelmed.
If you are attending a religious service and this is new to the person you are supporting, you can write a separate social story about the service and what is expected of them during the service.
The days off school or changes to normal routine can cause confusion and make a person anxious.
It is best to prepare them for the change as early as possible.
A weekly schedule that shows pictures of each day of the week, is a great idea.
A picture board needs to have a picture for what they are doing each day.
When the day is over you can support the person to remove the picture or drop it to the finish line.
You can explain through the picture the days there routine will change
For example instead of putting up a picture of school on Friday, you might put up a picture of home
On Sunday attach a picture of what Easter means to you, it might be a religious picture or a picture of a chocolate Easter bunny.
Easter Day Sequence of Events
Make a picture sequence board for the days activities
For example your day might look like this:
Wake up – Church – Easter Egg Hunt – Lunch with Grandma – Home
Depending on where you child is at, you can use words or pictures, I prefer pictures they are more concrete!
Make sure you remember to pack the picture sequence when you go out.
If change leads to behaviour, pack visuals on acceptable behaviour and social skills
Easter Preparation Activities
To help someone understand about celebrating Easter, support the person to:
- to pay and purchase an Easter gift to give on the day.
- make an Easter card for a special person.
- bake treats for the special day.
Click here for more tips and visual strategies to prompt communication and interaction.
Till next time
Alison – Mother, Blogger, Founder See-n-Speak picture communication resources.