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7 Holiday Challenges For Autistic Individuals (slideshow)

7 Holiday Challenges For Autistic Individuals (slideshow)
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With 1 in 110 children in the US now diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), it’s become more likely that you know a child — a relative’s, a friend’s, a neighbor’s, your own — or someone who’s autistic or who has Asperger’s. Children and adults on the spectrum can have significant challenges in social interactions and in communicating (some, like my teenage son Charlie, may be minimally verbal or not be able to speak at all), as well as cognitive difficulties due to neurological issues.

Order and routine are not simply important but essential for many autistic individuals who may become intensely agitated and even feel physical pain when that order is disrupted. Holidays — when schools are closed and many take vacation — are, therefore, almost by definition likely to be challenging. What follows is a selection of some things about holidays that can be difficult (especially from a sensory perspective) for those on the autism spectrum, based on our experiences navigating 14 years of holidays with Charlie.

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50 comments

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2:02AM PST on Jan 15, 2012

Very good article.

7:33AM PST on Dec 27, 2011

Thanks for an interesting aticle.

10:17AM PST on Dec 26, 2011

Everyone with autism is so different my son has problems with some of these things, not others and then different things about the holidays... we don't do big holidays because the social situations are stressful for him and then he doesn't enjoy his holiday, but he loves the food and smells. He likes to open presents, but he is very picky about what he likes so we do it a little different.. he picks out the presents and then we wrap them then he gets the fun of trying to guess which is which before he opens them... He gets stressed out with travel, but loves it too so we do a big trip or two a year and just deal with the stress when it arises, he hates singing, but likes to listen to the music, but if in a busy Christmas spot he gets overstimulated, can't deal with the school concerts and being in front of people.. the biggest thing is the flashing lights though... he loves them, but they cause seizures and he can't concentrate if they are on... so we only do them in small doses and make sure he's not tired when he sees them it makes a huge difference...

2:23AM PST on Dec 26, 2011

thanks for the info

6:24PM PST on Dec 25, 2011

ty

6:37AM PST on Dec 25, 2011

Good article.

10:00PM PST on Dec 23, 2011

I've known Kanner's autistics and I am not one of them. I know people use autistic as a catch all phrase for the entire spectrum but I prefer the term Asperger because I am much higher functioning.

5:55PM PST on Dec 23, 2011

It's good to be informed of how the various the dominant culture can be challenging to those that do not fit the norm.

4:54PM PST on Dec 23, 2011

Thank u for artical.

7:47AM PST on Dec 23, 2011

An excellent article.

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