This is very likely to be different for everyone because everyone’s child is different. For my family, a sensory friendly Christmas is extremely important because without it, no one would really be able to enjoy the holidays.
In order to make Christmas sensory friendly or rather as sensory friendly as possible, it requires a bit of sacrifice and k owl edge of our kids limits.
Each of my 3 boys with Autism and SPD have different limits so we sorta have to go with the least common denominator.
For my family, we limit travel as much as possible and also try to limit the amount of gifts as well. Both of these things can produce a great deal of anxiety in my kids. While both are positive things, they can very easily lead to overstimulation.
We have learned to avoid large family gatherings (remember when I said it required sacrifice) and loud, noisy, festive environments.
The noise, bright lights, large crowds and seemingly endless supply of gifts can be really exciting for my kids but very overstimulating as well.
The anticipation of gifts, emotional and behavioral expectations, dozens of simultaneous conversations and the bright Christmas lights, is a sensory assault on my kids. While they can cope for a short time, it almost always ends badly for them and everyone around them.
It’s not fair to expect my kids to be able to endure something that is far too overwhelming for them, simply because we want to visit with family and friends during the holidays.
It’s really tough and can even cause problems with relationships between family and friends because of them taking it personally who we have to graciously decline an invitation (see: The best gift you can give to a special needs family this holiday season).
At the end of the day, it’s about helping my kids enjoy the holidays, within their limits and if that means we have to forego the more traditional activities, than so be it.
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