Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Autism Challenges During The Holidays

Autism does not take a vacation during the Christmas, or any other, holiday season. Autistic children can face additional challenges. In Autistic children face holiday challenges Dr. Alan Harchik chief operating officer of the May Institute, a nonprofit organization that provides educational, rehabilitative, and behavioral health care services to individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities, brain injury, mental illness, and behavioral health care needs, offers some sound advice for helping your autistic child, and you, during the holiday season with its many additional stresses.

One of the many helpful points made by Dr. Harchik is one which I am emphasizing because I did not adhere to it last Saturday with Conor:

Shopping: If your child accompanies you to the mall, supermarket, or department store, try to go early in the day or during the mid-week when it is likely to be less crowded.

Last Saturday Conor and I went for a couple of outings early in the day to local establishments and things went extremely well. Then, a bit over confident, I tried again later in the afternoon with a visit to the Sears store in Fredericton's largest, busiest mall. Conor indicated his displeasure as we approached the store and continued as we entered. Realizing by Conor's reaction I was pushing the envelope I turned around and took him back to the car to wait there for his mother but it was too late and Conor suffered a serious meltdown.

Last week Conor paid the price because I was not careful enough about holiday shopping crowd activity. You should probably heed Dr. Harchik's advice about avoiding crowded shopping visits later in the day. I know I will.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One thing I try regularly is to make an exact list and plan the exact times we will go shopping. Discuss which stores to visit, and discuss exactly what we are looking for. (Sometimes I let my "fingers do the walking" first to ensure we go to the correct stores first). A treat of some sort at the end of the excursion also can encourage a good day.

Sometimes, even the best planned trip may not occur if it happens to fall on a day where things do not start off correctly. Be patient. No big rush... you may have to put it off for a day or two.. just keep the dialogue open and keep planning it. It will likely happen. Wandering the shopping malls rarely ever works.