The festive season is here!!!
We have come to the end of yet another year. For some, the year might have been busy and successful while for others it might have been chaotic and not so successful. Irrespective of how the year has been, each one of us has their own unique way to enjoy the holiday season. For some it is a holiday away with your significant other, near the sea shore, overlooking the breath taking sunset. For some it is to snuggle indoors with your little ones in pajamas, eating and playing all day. For some it is a vacation in the wild or in a hotel. For others, it is visiting Grandma or Grandpa in the urban/rural areas. As we contemplate and plan for our style of festivity, let’s not forget to put the special needs child in the picture.
Special needs children such as children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Cerebral Palsy, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Down syndrome and Spina Bifida require special consideration during the festive season. This special consideration might be, where they will spend the holiday, what will be the routines and schedules during the holiday, who can they visit during the holiday season?
We all have a role to play in the lives of special needs children around us. They could be our immediate family, part of the extended family, be our friends, or our family friends.
Maintain Household Routines
As the festivities continue, it is important to maintain the various household routines (sleep time, showering time, mealtime, screen time, etc). This is especially important for the children having Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) because routine gives these children a sense of security and helps them know what is coming.
Prepare For Holiday Travels
If you will be making any travels with a special needs child, you may need to consider what effect this will have on your special needs child and what extra things will you need to carry. Do you need to carry the sensory calmer (can be that special blanket or special jacket), or need to carry the various positioning items (rolls, wedges), or will you have to find hotels that are special needs friendly? A special checklist can be a great asset. Check out some tips on a special needs child traveling checklist.
Presents and Special Needs Children
Children love presents, they might not voice it, they might not ask for them, but deep down they love presents. The immediate family of the special needs child is best placed to buy them presents because; during the year, they get to see what the special needs child likes. They can also guide the extended family and friends on what to buy for the special needs child.
Taking Special Needs Children to Gramps
The extended family plays a significant role in the life of a special needs child. If you intend to take a special needs child to visit the extended family, help the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other relatives to learn as much as possible about the special needs child’s condition and what they require. This will make it easy for them when they visit or host the special need child and will be able to be of assistance.
Family Friends and Special Needs Children
A great integral pillar to the parent of the special needs child is their circle of friends. Special friends who know the child’s therapists, teachers and caregivers by the stories shared. They can offer to babysit the special needs child and/or their siblings and also organize play dates. By and large the friends are key people to the parents of the special needs child and by extension to the special needs child.
As a friend to a family with a special needs child, you can spend time with your friend; Go for a coffee date or a lunch date, get to know how they are doing, catch up on what is new, what is the parent’s current fear, and what is the parent looking forward to. This is truly therapeutic, the parent of the special needs child’s emotions are being taken care of. You can host or visit the entire family, cook for them or order in food, do errands, shopping, or drop kids off to events. Such acts of kindness are always welcome, considering how full the plate is for a parent with a special needs child.
Special needs children are part of our lives whether in our immediate family, extended family or children of our friends. It is important and fulfilling to take the time and reach out to the special needs child and their family during this festive season. Let’s all be intentional about it, all for the benefit of the wonderful soul here with us.
Finally, We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year full of special and memorable moments with special needs children around you
It would be great to hear stories of how you were able to impact a special need child over these holidays. Do feel free to share with us how this made you feel and what was the reaction of the family of the special needs child. Looking forward to hearing from you. Leave a comment or chat with us on WhatsApp. You can also get in touch with us. Don’t forget to share widely.