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Happy Holidays!

The holidays are upon us!  Like it or not!  Here are some tips to make the holidays bright… Pass them on to your families and friends.
1. Help families with shopping. Crowded malls with long lines can be intolerable to children with autism.
2. Help siblings enjoy the season. Siblings of children with autism are sometimes unable to participate in holiday events because their sister or brother with autism cannot. Offer to take siblings to special holiday events.
3. Keep gatherings small. If you have a friend or relative who has a child with autism, it is wonderful to invite them to your home. The child may be overwhelmed, however, if you also invite your 50 closest friends.
4. Make your home safe for a celebration. Talk with the parents of the child with autism about how you can make your home a fun but safe place to celebrate.
5. Prepare foods that the child will like. Many children with autism have strong preferences when it comes to food. Find out in advance what the child enjoys or make sure parents know that it is acceptable for them to bring their own food.
6. Give families the gift of time. Give the family “coupons” that entitle them to your time in the coming year. Families often need help with babysitting and basic household tasks, or may appreciate it if you can take siblings on special outings.
7. Ask the parents how to respond to behavior problems. Many children with autism exhibit challenging behaviors. If a child with autism is visiting your home, learn in advance from the parents how to keep your responses to these behaviors consistent with what they do at home.

9. Give the gift of time to organizations that help children with autism. Volunteer to help at public or private schools or within community organizations that provide services to children on the spectrum.

8. Give gifts that children with autism will love. Often, parents of children with autism know what kind of gifts will be both developmentally appropriate and fun for their child. So ask them what to give! Alternatively, take the child shopping during a less busy time or find replacements for highly preferred toys that may have broken.
10. Donate. Donate to organizations that conduct research on treatments for autism or organizations that implement evidence-based treatment.
Hang in there families!
It’s all good,
Cheryl C.Smith