Hudson Valley Parent

HVP November 2017

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26 Hudson Valley Parent n November 2017 completely overwhelmed. "Remember it's okay if you need to take a break, or possibly hide in the bathroom for a few minutes," explains Lisa DeFrancisco, a mom from Warwick. Dear Santa… My son only plays with toys he's seen on YouTube (it's like Saturday morning commercials for his generation). We still have to be mindful of the toys that could cause repetitive play, such as the electronic toys with millions of buttons and sound effects. There's quite a few brands that offer products for a variety of ages and skill levels without any of the flashing lights and nonsense. Companies like Melissa & Doug, for example, seem to Is a stress free holiday on your wish list this year? Keep the season cheerful, advice from a mom with a son on the spectrum familiar. My son accepted just about everything besides the jolly man in the big red suit. All that meant for me is one less line we had to stand in. For children who are in the midst of potty training, White also notes that a potty seat adapter is essential. She explains, "Our son dislikes going to the bathroom in public restrooms. The potty seat allows him to sit comfortably and relax so he can go." All can stay merry and bright Staying calm has a direct effect on my son's mood. During meltdowns, I practice soft words and deep, calming breaths for my son to model while he regroups. I somehow always forget to use these methods when I'm feeling By K. RIELLY E very year, families welcome the holidays with the aroma of fresh baked cookies, twinkling lights, soft music, laughter and gifts. Not in my house. I'm usually super stressed, running around finishing my list at the last second and baking (and burning) cookies. The most important and demanding responsibility, however, is planning for my son who has special needs. When things get totally hectic, advice from parents who've been there can really help put life into perspective. Over the river and through the woods Having a child on the spectrum usually means routines are key to keeping everyone calm and safe. The holidays can disrupt schedules and cause disorder and panic. Jessica White, a mom from Beacon, anticipates her child's sensory needs prior to holiday gatherings and traveling. She says, "Noise-cancelling or reducing headphones are really important for travel. They help keep any unexpected or repetitive and loud noises from overwhelming my son." She also suggests bringing comfort objects from home such as a favorite stuffed animal, an iPad and a preferred snack and drink. Sharing photos and stories can also prepare a child for upcoming events. Last year we talked about the holiday, identified symbols and watched videos so that outings during the season would seem more For families with special needs, the chaos of the holidays can be overwhelming.

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