LOGAN – According to the National Autism Association, one in 88 children is affected by the condition. About 40 percent of children with autism do not speak. The 25–30 percent of children with autism have some words at 12 to 18 months of age and then lose them. Others might speak, but not until later in childhood. Autism greatly varies from person to person (no two people with autism are alike). Activities during the holidays may pose a challenge to anyone with autism. Help make the season more enjoyable by following tips and ideas from the Logan County Autism Association (LCAA).
• To prepare for a visit from someone with autism, set aside a quieter space for them to be away from the group for some downtime. If possible have some toys and sensory or calming items.
• Limit gift opening to a few at a time. Allow time for a full examination of each gift before moving on to open another. Allow time for breaks from the get together.
• Buy gifts that focus on the individual’s interests and are age appropriate and safe. Ask family or caregivers for suggestions.
• Social skills are usually in short supply so be prepared to hear the truth about a gift.
• Give parents or caregivers a break to do something they need/want to do that’s holiday related.
• Offer to assist with shopping, cooking or anything else the caregiver may need help with during the holidays.
• Help with clearing away ice and snow on sidewalks or driveways so the caregiver can devote the most time to the care of their loved one. If ice and snow are not an issue, ask if any other help is needed.
The Logan County Autism Association will host “Sensitive Santa” on Saturday, December 8, at the Logan Resource Center on Crooked Creek Road from 3:30-5:30 p.m. This is an opportunity for anyone with an autism spectrum disorder to meet Santa to enjoy a special holiday experience designed especially for them. The first twenty visitors will receive goody-filled stockings from the LCAA.
To learn more about autism, donate or get involved, visit nationalautismassociation.org.