Holiday Help: 5 tips for big gatherings

It’s the time of year when we all recognize the wonderful people in our lives.  That usually involves a lot of parties and get togethers.  For our loved ones on the spectrum these parties can be extremely difficult.  Here are 5 ways we can make the Holidays pleasant for all.

  1.  Plan to arrive late, leave early – It is easy to become over stimulated at a party.  It is better to leave while everyone is still feeling good.  Having a good time at a previous party will increase the opportunities for success at the next one.
  2.  Bring foods they will enjoy – Being in a new environment with lots of social interaction is a difficult task, and feeling hungry and/ or thirsty makes it even harder.  You can tackle the food sensitivities another time.
  3. Have a schedule, write it down, and follow it – Make the party as predictable as possible.  Knowing when an activity will end makes it easier to self- regulate.  Schedule breaks and enjoyable activities.  *Remember, too many fun things can be as overwhelming as too many challenges.
  4. Assign a place to relax – Before doing anything else and after discussing with the host, show your loved one where they can go if they need quiet.
  5. Prepare the hosts/ friends/ family for your loved one’s needs – Ahead of the party,  talk to the people who will be there and explain the goal for your loved one is to attend the party and have fun, so you will need to leave earlier than expected, bring food for them, and have a quiet area available.  Your host will want you to have a pleasant experience or they would not have invited you.  Give them the opportunity to help you have fun!

Happy Holidays!