Happy Holidays

It’s the time of the year again, where families come together and celebrate. But it can be challenging for an autistic person. Sensory issues (noise, flickering lights on a Christmas tree or outside the house, food, presents), social situations (seeing family members after a long time, family members talking to each other, giving presents), lack of routine and the list goes on and on.

My advice is to accommodate the autistic person as much as possible, especially when it comes to the sensory issues and social situations. Allow the autistic person to retreat to a safe place so he or she can regulate. If they stim, don’t tell them to stop, it’s a way to express their feelings and to self-regulate. Make sure to tell the host ahead of time that the autistic person doesn’t eat everything. Have their favorite foods on hand.

The Holidays can also be a sad time for an autistic person. Loneliness, depression, lack of understanding from their peers and/or family, an increase of meltdowns. I’ve been feeling lonely these days, but I won’t go into further details. If the autistic person in your family feels lonely, offer some support. Don’t dismiss their feelings. Don’t say things like “stop feeling sorry for yourself” or “stop thinking about yourself”.

Days leading up to New Year is pretty tough for me, because you have fireworks going off and the noise just drives me crazy!! I have to walk around with my earplugs on every day!

And despite what I’m going through, I have a great news!! My article about autism was published in the special edition of the newspaper Extra yesterday. The article is in my native language, Papiamentu.

And I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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