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Tuesday 21 Nov 2017

Autism-Friendly Santa’s for Holiday Success

There’s a trend becoming more and more prevalent in our country and beyond: autism-friendly events. While there is some controversy over these events, the bottom line is that these events seem to be helping families. Think about it: how would you feel if the seemingly trivial traditions such as getting pictures with Santa were so difficult that you just avoided them? This is the dilemma that many families of children with autism face. It’s not that they couldn’t participate in these community activities, but families face a lot of social pressure in addition to the pressure of dealing with potential problem behaviors which may simply be too aversive for families so they avoid these situations. These “autism-friendly” events seem to give families the extra confidence boost they need to get out there and try to participate in these events.

Is the idea that children with autism are only able to participate in community activities if they are “autism-friendly”? Absolutely not. Our goals is always to teach children the skills necessary to help them participate and be successful in all community settings. However, these “autism-friendly” events may give families the extra boost of confidence they need to get out there and try. In these types of events there is the unwritten rule that no matter what happens there will be no judgment because you’re surrounded by families who are dealing with similar situations. This will hopefully alleviate some of the social pressure parents face and allow them to get their children out in the community where they can best learn the skills they need to learn to be successful. Additionally, families are able to participate in traditions which may have gone by the wayside in many years past such as getting photos with Santa.

In Florida, one such event was held and many families were able to attend and get Santa pictures with their children for the first time in years.

Happy Holidays Everyone! Please share your stories of holiday success here!!

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