Kids with ADD, ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders can easily be overstimulated around the holidays. With all the glitz, lights and often sounds, it can be extremely difficult for children to focus, particularly those who already have difficulty in this arena on a daily basis. Keep this in mind when decorating for the holidays. Keep decorations simple. Scale back instead of scaling up. This approach could help avoid meltdowns and frustration for all parties involved.
Parents and other caregivers also need to remember that the holidays are a time of fun. While having some structure in place — depending on the needs of individual children — having some flexibility is also very important. If things become too structured then they are no longer fun. When in doubt, ask your children and include them in the planning process, while still setting limits/guidelines within said process.
[James Walker, LPC, is Methodist Family Health’s program coordinator of school-based counseling services as Success Achievement Academy in Jonesboro.]