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Some tips to make your home autism friendly this holiday season

It is that wonderful time of the year. The year has come to an end, and we are all set to welcome the New Year with new hopes and lots of happiness. This holiday season is also about buying new presents and gifting it to your loved ones. We decorate our homes and spread the message of love to near and dear ones.

For children with autism, holiday seasons are fun too. Since they lack social and motor skills, parents and relatives must make sure homes are decked up accordingly. Children with autism feel overwhelmed, confused and anxious. So there must be no room for confusion or hassles during this season so that they get to enjoy it to the fullest.

I think making an album with year round activities is something that every parent must ask their child to do. A scrapbook will only help them in different ways. Also, try and ask your child to make some greeting cards which can be handed over to friends and family when they come home. Let them draw whatever they have in mind. So when you make a Christmas tree, hang all the drawings on it. It will also make the child feel great- Shakila Banu, Founder, JDC Sparsha

Wondering how to make your home autism friendly this holiday season? We have a few tips for you

  • Gifts must be sensory friendly- We all love to get new gifts this season. Children with autism are extremely sensitive. So when you give them a gift, make sure that it is sensory friendly. Gifts that do not have too much sound, flash lights and are not loud are ideal for them. Or else, they feel anxious when opening the gifts. You can gift them something simple which they would appreciate. Surprise them by keeping the gift next to their bed or table. Who doesn't like surprises? Your child will be super thrilled to get a gift.
  • Decorations- No holidays are complete without decorating the home. But children with autism usually prefer everything in the same pattern. So when you move a table keep something, it can be very upsetting and depressing. The best thing is to include your child in all the decorations. Maybe they can even choose and decide how to go about decorating things. Give a lot of value to their suggestions. This helps to boost their confidence and self-esteem.
  • Food- It is the season to enjoy some great delicious home-cooked food. Usually, for family dinners, everybody brings in something cooked at their home so that it can be shared on the dining table. But what if your child with autism does not appreciate that food? Most of the children with autism have their food preferences. Make sure that you cook something that they like and keep it right next to them on the table. That way, even they can enjoy the family get-together time to the fullest with some great food.
  • Smells- Since children with autism are extremely sensitive, it is important that they are always around smells that they appreciate. For instance, not every child appreciates the smell of a rose scented candle during dinner time. Make sure that you make the room pleasant and easy for them.

"One of the main things that we follow is to make my son part of all the social gatherings. Thankfully, he is very social. He is non-verbal, but tries and becomes part of all the activities in the house. We have guests coming over and he totally loves it. He is very accommodative when it comes to us making changes in the rooms for decorations. He is totally cool with it", says Shailley Sood, mother of Anmol Sood, child with autism.

ALSO READ: Some tips to make learning fun for children with autism

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