By Susan J. Moreno, M.A., MAAP Services for Autism and Asperger Syndrome
Birthday parties, religious holidays and New Year’s celebrations are often occasions where large groups of family and/or friends gather. These events can leave behind lifelong memories…or lifelong nightmares.
The events can be very stressful for people on the AS spectrum and for their immediate family as well. We offer some suggestions in hopes of making these occasions more pleasant for one and for all. Many thanks to those on the AS spectrum and their loved ones for sharing many of the following points below with us through the years.
- Be sure that all family members discuss what is most likely to take place on that special occasion.
- Remember that most people on the spectrum do NOT like surprises
- Be aware that many holidays and celebrations involve things that many non-spectrum people like, but many AS people don’t, such as: Different and strong scents, such as potpourri, cinnamon, strong food odors, over-use of perfumes by attendees. More noise than usual, including a higher volume of and more conversations, often all taking place at one time. Lots of hugging, patting on the back and other somatosensory contact. Travel to new or seldom-visited places.