Christmas is such an exciting time! Everything is different and festive. Decorations are everywhere, Christmas tunes dominate the radio, Christmas trees go up in the house, and presents start filling up under the tree. This time of year most everyone loves, but for a child on the Autism spectrum the changes can be overwhelming. School is out and everything is different. This year our family had a low key Christmas. We usually have family in town or go out of town. We always have a flurry of activity. This year we had 2 events that my husband and I were a part of at church. However, this year we strived to involve and prepare our children as much as possible in the activity. Usually we just cart them around for the events. This year we involved them. For example, our church sponsors families for Christmas. Well, we had the children help us pick out the gifts for the children. Our Christmas concert that my husband and I do most of the music (in addition to our Awesome piano player) has practices. This time we involved the kids in the practice. For Christmas decorating, I gave our son specific tasks. He did fixate on certain objects and hid them for the remainder of the month, but he enjoyed getting involved. I think these things made a big difference this year, and we did not have one meltdown! Huge, Huge, Huge! We maintained somewhat of a structured day with therapy that we still attended throughout the week and activities at home. The biggest thing I noticed this season was my son's intensity level. About 3 days after Christmas, his intensity was maxing out at 150 percent. When I say intensity, I mean his jaw is clenched most of the time, he sprints the length of the house again and again, he does somersaults, tries to hug and pat the baby too hard, hugs his sister with major force, can't sit still, and slaps his stomach really hard. This could have been a combination of several things: the snow and freezing temps preventing much outdoor play, he was sick, and the change of structure. As school is now back in session, structure has resumed, his sensory diet is back in full swing, and he is healthy, he has began to even out again. His biggest strength and growth has been how I have noticed him trying to self-regulate. He is not always successful, but I can see him trying. We had a wonderful Christmas (besides illness), but I can almost tell he loves that things are back to routine. Just like Jake in "I am Jake: My Life on the Autism Spectrum," Luke loves to have a schedule!
How were the holidays for you?
What did you do to try and maintain structure?
Until next time,