Holiday gatherings can sometimes be stressful as a parent of a special needs child. While the crowd of the family and the loud conversations can be exciting and exhilarating for some, for a child with sensory sensitivities it can be overwhelming. This can turn an otherwise happy family gathering into a stressful, unfriendly environment for your child.
Preparing your child is something that you are used to; talking it through, role-playing, and all those fun books you have explaining the upcoming festivities are part of the routine. Having a “plan-b”, a “safe-place” for them to retreat, and if all else fails, an exit strategy are all good strategies for unfamiliar environments. You bring all their favorite soothing toys and stuffed friends, using all the tools you’ve been taught – you are a pro!
In all the planning and strategizing, take a minute this week to breathe in the last year. Take a moment to reflect on the progress your child has made, the things you’ve learned and incorporated in your routines. Take a minute to be thankful. After all, this is exactly what this season is about – Thankfulness.
We’ve asked a handful of parents what they are thankful for this year, some of them humorous, some not. See if any of the list matches up with what is in your heart:
- My children
- Online Shopping
- A roof over my head
- ABA Therapy for my child!
- The 10 minutes of quiet I get in the shower everyday
- My job
- The iPad
- Yoga pants
- My child’s speech therapists
- A supportive spouse
- Take-out dinners
- Being Happy and Healthy
In this season of gratitude, let’s not let it stop here! Call, write, message someone that you are especially thankful for, you never know who may need to hear from you!
It takes a village! Find community with local parents, support groups, Facebook communities, or other local organizations. Email us, or join us online: Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram – we’d love for you to connect with us!
Local Events & Resources
AMC Saratoga 14 – Sensory Friendly Films
700 El Paseo De Saratoga, San Jose, CA 95130
AMC is proud to partner with the Autism Society to offer unique movie showings where we turn the lights up, and turn the sound down, so you can get up, dance, walk, shout or sing! Our Sensory Friendly Film program is available on the second and fourth Saturday (family-friendly) and Tuesday evenings (mature audiences) of every month.
Santa Cares – Sensory Friendly Santa
Eastridge Center – 2200 Eastridge Loop, San Jose, CA 95122
Santa Cares is a sensory-friendly opportunity for children with all spectrums of special needs to enjoy the time-honored tradition of the Santa Photo Experience with their family in a calming environment prior to public hours. Please RSVP in advance by reserving one ticket per group. Photo packages are available for purchase during the event.
This month our technology spotlight will be directed toward Thanksgiving Family Activities! We found some great activities that you can do over the break with your kids and the whole family from Parents.com.
NATURE HIKE WREATH CRAFT: Here’s how your crew can take in some lovely local sights and end up with a take-home memento, too. Give each family member a plastic bag, then head for a pretty park or trail, where everyone can collect fallen leaves, bark, pinecones, twigs, and other nature finds as they walk. Back home, hand out wreath forms cut from cereal boxes (ours are 7 inches wide) and bottles of tacky glue for attaching the objects. Add leaf-shaped nametags cut from cardboard or card stock. For hanging, glue a large paper clip to the back of each wreath.
COLORING BOOK TABLE CLOTH: Turn the Thanksgiving table into a giant art canvas to get kids — and grown-ups — happily doodling. Cans from the dinner preparations, cleaned and dried, make handy holders for crayons and colored pencils.
How it’s done: Use kraft paper, art paper, or wrapping paper to cover the table; if needed, use several lengths, taping them to each other. Keep it in place with large binder clips or painter’s tape (test tape on the table’s underside to ensure it won’t damage the finish). With black marker, draw place settings and other shapes to invite coloring.
GOBBLER PLACE CARDS: Sweeten up your table with these turkey pals, quickly and cleverly constructed from cupcake liners.
How it’s done: Flatten a standard-size cupcake liner, then draw eyes on a mini cupcake liner. With a glue stick, adhere a beak and snood cut from colored paper. Using a brush or cotton swab, dab white glue around the rim of the mini liner. Set it off-center on the larger liner, as shown, and let it dry. With the glue stick, attach the turkey to a folded tent card (we used decorative-edge scissors to cut ours from brown card stock). Add turkey feet and a name with marker.
Ask A is for Apple
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