Jo Worgan column

Jo Worgan.
Jo Worgan.

Christmas is fast approaching and for both parents and children who are on the spectrum this can be a difficult time of year.

Decorations are everywhere you turn while the shops are noisy and crowded.

Tom already thinks it is Christmas. This is such a confusing time of year for him.

So the way in which we cope is to firstly take some deep breaths and try not to panic.

This time of year can be very unsettling for children on the spectrum and their anxieties can become quite evident. I know for example that Tom is experiencing anxieties at school and at home due to the whole Christmas build-up, but there are a few things that we have done to try and help him.

Firstly we use a Christmas countdown calendar which is a visual timetable that shows days at home, days at school and when it is Christmas day.

Therefore he can clearly see how many days there are until the big day itself.

We spoke to family about gift ideas for Tom as sometimes it can be very difficult in choosing appropriate gifts.

Tell your family what presents your child may like, such as any sensory gifts or learning tools.

Failing this you can always ask for the money and then choose the gift yourself so as to make life easier for everyone involved.

We also slowly put up the decorations, so we first put up the lights, then a bit of tinsel and we then decorate the tree.

Actually we still need to go and hack ours down. But I feel that by gradually decorating the house, this allows Tom to prepare himself for Christmas and there is not too much of a drastic change all at once.

I must also add that he loves decorating the tree with Stephen. I think that last year he lay on the couch draped in tinsel.

I think that it is also important to just do your own thing.

Do whatever works for your child and your family and do not listen to what others say you ‘should do’.

You know your child best.

I hope that you all have a wonderful Christmas.