In a collaborative effort to amplify Autistic voices, I'm sharing @neurodivergent_lou 's word from her Instagram page on my public blog. I have asked permission to share her words because I believe her experiences as an Autistic person are important & need to be heard & recognized, especially my parents of Autistic Kids.
CHRISTMAS AS AN AUTISTIC PERSON
HOW CAN CHRISTMAS BE STRESSFUL FOR AUTISTIC PEOPLE?
- Christmas decorations
- Unexpected surprises
- Unexplained social rules surrounding Christmas
- Bright flashing lights
- Change in routine
- Unexpected questions from family
- Issues with organizing
- Sensory issues with Christmas food
- Opening gifts
- Lots of social time
- Everywhere is busy & loud
- Feeling exhausted
WHAT CAN BE HELPFUL?
"... Keep as much of your normal routine as possible. For example, if you usually unload the dishwasher in the morning, try to keep that routine over Christmas too.
"... Use something visual to help remember your routine and what is happening each day. This might be a visual schedule, an app such as Timo or simply something written on a piece of paper.
"... Know as much as possible about Christmas in advance so that you feel prepared. This might include knowing roughly (where possible) what time that guests are arriving and what time they are leaving. I never realized that it was ok to ask for a rough ending time for celebrations in advance, but it totally is!
"It can also be useful to know roughly what time each activity will be during the day, such as opening presents, having food, playing board games etc.
"... Think in advance about any difficult questions that may come up from extended family or friends in order to prepare yourself to know what to say or know how to move the conversation on. You can ask trusted and close family and friends to help too.
"... Think about topics of conversation you can rely on if the conversation goes a bit quiet or things get difficult. I use this one sparingly because I am conscious that I don't want to overuse scripts as they can be a form of masking.
"If you struggle with recieving unknown gifts, it can be helpful to have a wishlist of the gifts that you like and ask for people to buy from the list, if possible. This can help reduce the sense of unknown.
"... Stagger the opening of gifts over the Christmas period, if you have a few different gifts. This can help to reduce the sense of overwhelm associated with opening all of them at once.
"I try to plan the Christmas gifts that I am giving to other people in advance as much as possible.
"Christmas can be overwhelming sensory wise. You might want to ask about what adjustments can be made in advance such as turning down the Christmas lights during the day or reducing the volume of music.
"You may also find it helpful to use sensory aids such as noise cancelling headphones, weighted blankets and stim toys.
"You may also want to find somewhere quiet that you can go during the day when you need to. You may want to let people know in advance that you may need to go off for a while to rest.
As a reminder, these are @neurodivergent_lou 's words shared from her Instagram page. I'm sharing a collection of her words so that parents of disabled kids can read & learn from an Autistic Adult & hopefully better understand.
I'm also sharing Lou's CashApp & Ko-fi account. She posts this information for anyone willing to donate should they learn something from her sharing this information.