What is ASD?
Remember our Signs of Autism in Children and Adults blog post? ASD stands for Autism Spectrum Disorder. It’s a neurological disorder that affects 1 in 68 children and has increased over 100% in the past 10 years.
Autism Speaks Canada provides a pretty good definition of what the disorder entails and could mean to someone with ASD:
Autism and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. They include autistic disorder (sometimes referred to as “classic autism”), Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome. ASD can be associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination and attention and physical health issues such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances. Some persons with ASD excel in visual skills, music, math and art.
People with autism spectrum also have difficulty processing everyday sensory information (National Autistic Society). Individuals may be either over-sensitive or under-sensitive. These sensory related difficulties can affect behaviour and become overwhelming resulting in stress, anxiety, and in some cases, physical pain. The end-result is often withdrawal, challenging behaviour or a meltdown (National Autistic Society).
As you would expect, Christmas can be a source of dread for individuals with ASD and sensory over-sensitivity. All the lights, loud noises, and information overload can be paralyzing.
Tips from Around the Web
We’ve gathered some holiday tips from the most reputable Autism Societies around the world. From preparing ahead of time to tips on travelling during the holiday. These organizations have covered everything you might need to know when preparing for the big day.
Twelve Tips for Helping Individuals with Autism Have a Happy Holiday Season
The Autism Society shines in their expertise by providing these well-rounded sensory friendly tips for the holidays. The article covers subjects related to preparation, travelling during the holidays, practicing gift opening, and more techniques to avoid a possible meltdown on that big family day. Read More >
Holiday Tips for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Autism Speaks is an organization dedicated to promoting solutions for people (and families) across the spectrum. They’re provided a well-rounded article focusing on tips before and during the big day. Some of the tips they’ve covered include practicing for dinner and preparing for a family environment. Read More >
Autism Options: We wish you an autism friendly Christmas
Autism Options is a UK based organization that has been around for over 16 years and is dedicated to providing individualized care and treatment plans for individuals within the spectrum. While not as detailed as Autism Society’s article, this PDF touches on the most key areas: handling change, coping with sensory overloads, and how communication aids can help. Read more >