For kids with autism, there’s something about November and December. It’s called the “Holiday Buildup.” If you made it through Halloween without problems, you’ve had a good start.
ALL kids seem to get a bit “wound up” in this season, but our kids on the Autism Spectrum tend to get “it” more. Celebrations, shopping, new activities and extra sugar treats that are not part of the normal routine seem to dominate.
That’s why I need to remind you. . .
Don’t Forget to Use Video
Video is a powerful visual tool for students on the autism spectrum. Since new electronics are common gifts during the holiday season that means parents and teachers will have more video possibilities to explore.
Most of the latest phones and tablets have video capabilities with much better video quality than even just a couple of years ago. Of course, the game apps on those iPads and other tablets and phones will capture everyone’s attention, but don’t forget the video possibilities.
5 Tips that work like magic
Here are five ways you can use video to help students enjoy a positive holiday season.
1. Use video to give information
The busy holiday season is frequently full of changes in regular schedules and routines. New activities, changes in routines and unfamiliar decorations are all part of season.
It’s great when you can create some videos to tell children what is going to be happening before it happens. For example, if a trip to the shopping mall is coming, parents or teachers can stop before the trip to capture some video clips of the decorations or displays or whatever else might cause a problem or create a concern for a student.
It’s not always possible to prepare ahead, but utilize that option when you can. If you have recurring situations, try to video the first time and then use that to prepare students for the repeat visits.
Think about all those other activities where video can be used. Cooking meals, baking cookies, shopping and wrapping gifts are great on video.
Thinking ahead and being proactive about giving information can help many students avoid meltdowns and handle new situations with ease.
2. Teach holiday related routines
Think about any routines that are new or used infrequently (or this even works with more familiar routines). Greeting people at the front door, how to open gifts, going to a “quiet place” if it gets too noisy or how to eat hors d’oeuvres properly (no double dipping!) could all become video clips.
Of course, it won’t work to try to teach everything all at once. Good teaching will target an appropriate number of things that a student needs support with. Focus on those.
3. Create video stories
Helping students handle social situations via strategies such as writing Social Stories™ has become common. These same stories can be created in a video format. It doesn’t have to be complicated.
Making a video can be as simple as writing a story on paper and then creating a video reading the story while showing the pages you wrote. Another simple strategy is recording someone telling the story. Of course you can get fancier by using actors to act out the details. Just don’t make it so complicated that it doesn’t get done.
Here are a few topics that would work.
• How to greet company coming to the house
• Going to visit when there is a party at grandma & grandpa’s house
• The football game is on TV so I can’t watch my favorite show
• How to play with my little cousin
• How to put the Christmas tree up
• How to treat the Christmas tree
• How to take the Christmas tree down
• I get to open my presents but I do not open other people’s presents
• Other people’s gifts are not mine
4. Remember people
Families have different ways to celebrate during holidays. For many, it’s a time to get together with friends and extended family. That creates more change for our targeted students. Their lives may be filled with people they see regularly, people they don’t see very often and new people they have never met before.
Video helps. Record a person saying his or her name and anything else that will make them memorable. Watch videos before you see the people. Watch to remember who was there after the people leave.
Think about videos you can watch next year to remember routines and activities and people related to the holiday. Watch videos of people next time you are going to see them to remind children where they are going or who they will see.
Children of all ages enjoy watching videos of themselves and those around them doing fun things. Consider these.
• Singing favorite holiday songs
• Showing something drawn or made
• Demonstrating how to do something
After special days, students will enjoy watching videos for entertainment and memories. Home-made videos can also make special gifts for special people.
Why is video special?
Our students on the spectrum are easily attracted to anything with a screen.
Why video? Video is visual and it offers the opportunity for watching something predictable over and over.
Students will remember what they see on video
better than anything that you just tell them with words
Video is a tool that provides an opportunity to develop new skills or relive memories.
And one more thing
Video can become an important calming tool when children need something to help them get calm.
Be sure to use video as a teaching tool. It’s is easy to use to create holiday FUN!!!!
P.S. Just remember. . .
The biggest challenge is remembering to prepare the child and making sure to SHOW him or her what is happening. Thinking ahead can help avoid fear, anxiety or a major meltdown, depending on how well a child adjusts to new things.
Here’s an opportunity
Providing information is one of the essentials for achieving enjoyable holiday experiences. There are more. Join me in this webinar as I explore:
** I want to help you get a head start for an enjoyable holiday season **
Here’s an early gift for you.
Save $10 when you use this Promo Code: SAVE10 (case sensitive)
Let’s get started. Do it now so you don’t forget! 🙂
Promo Code will only be good this week.
Think of it like this….
Just one idea that leads to a successful celebration makes it well worth the time it takes to participate in this one hour program.
P.P.S. I know your schedule is pretty full right now. That’s why I pre-recorded this webinar so you can view it on your own time schedule. When you register you’ll have immediate access.