New Year’s Day is quickly approaching, and for many families with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), many changes and adjustments are ahead! New Year’s with autism often involves preparing for complex gatherings of many people, loud noises from fireworks or music, and a lot of elaborate celebrating! For some children, New Year’s with autism can be a challenging experience that accompanies a lot of anxiety. Fortunately, there are ways to ensure that your child’s New Year’s with autism is as magnificent as it can be!
This blog post will explore New Year’s with autism and includes eleven tips to ensure your family is fully prepared for the exciting day. These tips will help make your New Year’s festivities something genuinely extraordinary. From decorations to providing a more inclusive celebration, this blog post has got you covered!
Why Is Celebrating New Year’s with Autism Problematic for Many?
New Year’s with autism can be a demanding experience for many children for several reasons. First, New Year’s Eve celebrations are often loud and stimulating events that can overwhelm children with sensory issues. Second, the changes in routine can be disruptive for neurodivergent kids who thrive on structure and regimen. Finally, New Year’s Day and Eve often involve crowded social gatherings. Attending these events can be challenging as many on the spectrum have trouble interacting with others.
While preparing your child for New Year’s with autism can feel like a big undertaking, it’s important to remember what is terrific about the holiday. Focus on ways to make New Year’s with autism more enjoyable while considering the factors that can make it overwhelming. By taking simple steps to avoid triggers and cope ahead, you can ensure your child’s New Year’s with autism is an incredible and unforgettable experience!
Eleven Tips for a Sensational New Year’s with Autism!
1) Plan Your New Year’s Day Ahead of Time.
Plan and prepare ahead to ensure you can celebrate without worrying about sensory overload or behavioral issues. Reevaluate anything that can make the day more complicated or trigger a meltdown.
2) Ensure New Year’s Decorations are Appropriate for Everyone.
Be conscious of New Year’s decorations to establish an autism-friendly environment where everyone can celebrate together! Bright colors and flashing lights may be exciting for some but can cause sensory overload or anxiety for those experiencing New Year’s with autism. Try to select attractive yet calming decorations, like sparkly garlands or colored paper lanterns.
3) Make Sure Everyone in the Family Feels Included.
Consider playing themed party games that include everyone, like charades or heads-ups. Look for opportunities and activities that allow everyone to feel like they can participate.
4) Seek Out Sensory-Friendly Spaces Wherever You Are.
If you’re having a large gathering, create “safe spaces” to retreat if festivities become too overwhelming. If you are celebrating at someone else’s house, ask the host if they can designate a quiet room or area for your child if they need to decompress. Additionally, try to spend most of your time in less crowded event spaces to reduce triggers.
5) Look for Holiday Food That Is Delicious and Accommodating for Everyone.
Choose foods that are easy to eat, like finger foods or highly preferred snacks. If you’re having a potluck, encourage your guests to bring autism-friendly dishes. If celebrating away from home, plan by bringing safe foods you know your neurodivergent child will eat. This will ensure everyone gets to enjoy the feast!
6) Plan for Triggers.
There will be loud noises, bright lights, and large crowds. In many cases, these things will be unavoidable. To prepare for New Year’s with autism, bring noise-canceling headphones, earplugs, and sunglasses to help your child cope. You might also carry quiet activities like a soft, familiar toy, fidget spinner, or compact puzzles.
If your child needs a break from all the excitement, consider dimming the lights, lowering the music, utilizing a safe space, or leaving the event. Flexibility is integral to ensuring New Year’s with autism is a positive experience for your child.
7) Include Your Child in the New Year’s Countdown.
Let them stay up until midnight or count down with them just before bedtime. By including them in the New Year’s celebration, you show them they are essential to the family!
8) Don’t Put Too Much Pressure on Yourself or Your Child!
New Year’s is just one day. Ultimately, what matters most is spending it together doing things you both enjoy. If things don’t go according to plan, that’s okay! Just roll with it and remember that you’ll have many more New Year’s to enjoy as a family!
9) Celebrate in a Way That Works for Your Everyone!
New Year’s doesn’t have to be a big production. If going out isn’t an option, stay home and celebrate in a way that works for you. The important thing is that your child feels comfortable and safe.
10) Consider Hosting Your Own Autism-Friendly New Year’s Eve Party.
This could involve selecting a sensory-friendly location, reducing noise and light levels, and providing calm activities such as coloring or crafts. Additionally, if hosting, ensure there is plenty of space for guests to move around! By keeping things low-key and accommodating everyone’s needs, you can help everyone ring in the new year in an enjoyable and meaningful way.
11) Remember That New Year’s Is a Time for Celebration!
Prioritize the fun aspects of the holiday, such as spending time with family and friends, establishing new traditions, and sharing festive foods.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your child’s New Year’s with autism is inclusive, considerate, and enjoyable for everyone in the family. With a bit of attention to detail, you’ll be able to enjoy the day in a way that everyone will remember for years to come!
How Can You Set Clear Expectations for New Year’s When Your Child Has Autism?
The pressure to have a “perfect” New Year’s Eve can be overwhelming for autism parents! But New Year’s with autism doesn’t have to be stressful. There are ways to set expectations so that New Year’s Eve is predictable and free of intimidating surprises. A super effective way to do this is to ensure your child knows what will occur so they can be ready.
Before the big day, sit down with your child and explain New Year’s Day. Address as many details as you can. Consider crucial questions they may have, like: Will there be loud noises? Will there be lots of people around? Why do people celebrate? If possible, visit the New Year’s celebration ahead of time so your child can get used to the environment.
It may be helpful to involve your child in the planning process to reinforce expectations. Include them in as many aspects of New Year’s planning as possible. This will help them feel more confident and included.
How Can You Ensure Your Child with Autism Enjoys New Year’s?
While the sensory overload and the hustle and bustle of the season can make New Year’s with autism challenging for some to enjoy, by following these tips and considering your child’s needs, you can ensure your child’s New Year’s with autism is fun and meaningful! Remember, there is no such thing as “perfect” or “normal.” What matters is the time spent making memories! Have a Happy New Year!
ABA Centers of America and Autism-Friendly Holidays!
ABA Centers of America understands the value of time spent together as a family enjoying the holiday season. We empower children on the spectrum through Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA therapy, to acquire the skills they need to engage with their families in meaningful ways. Our ABA therapy approach utilizes play and positive reinforcement to reach your child on their level. For more information about us, call (844) 923-4222 for a free consultation or visit abacenters.com.