December 12, 2022, WKYC Good Company
CLEVELAND, Oh. (WKYC)- Gathering for the holidays and seeing our loved ones is such an exciting time of the year. As much fun as that can be it can be overwhelming for some. The latest Ask Alli segment gives tips and tricks on how we can be mindful of our neurodiverse family members this holiday season.
Alli Frazier, Frazier Behavioral Health CEO, and autism mom, knows firsthand how stressful the holidays can be. Especially if you have a child with autism or who is neurodiverse. Aunts, Uncles, and Grandparents may not understand how sensory overwhelming it is when they go in for a big hug. Alli suggests preparing your child that these things might happen, but also giving alternatives. A fist bump or a high five for instance isn’t as overwhelming as a big hug. This will also teach your children self-advocacy skills to let their families know when they are overwhelmed or uncomfortable.
Another sticky point in the holiday season is around gift giving. It may take some education from the parents to the family members to help them understand that a neurodiverse child may not have the same reaction as a neurotypical child opening a gift. To make the gift-giving experience enjoyable Alli suggests mixing in gifts with the child’s specific interest in mind along with other gifts ensuring what they receive they will for sure enjoy. “One of the benefits of using our services at home is we can start to set those realistic goals and realistic expectations for the holidays in the comforts of the child’s home including learning how to say thank you when they receive a gift,” Alli states.
An important thing to keep in mind when it comes to the holidays is there is no such thing as a perfect holiday. Alli reminds us to not compare ourselves to our neighbors and our friends. “We can have a really successful holiday if we look for activities that everyone in the family enjoys,” says Alli. Activities such as the lights at the zoo or the Metro Parks or quiet activities like hiking in the woods are great sensory-friendly ways to experience the holidays with our loved ones. Alli leaves us with one last piece of advice, “If we just change our expectations you could have the perfect holiday.”
To request a consult or connect with the experts at FBH, give them a call at 216-446-2944.
You’ll find them at 5885 Landerbrook Drive, Suite 310, Mayfield Heights, Ohio.
To watch the full segment on WKYC’s website please click here.