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Keep the Season Bright (Despite Being Light-Sensitive)

Photo © Damian Gadal | Flickr/Creative Commons [image: Photo of out-of-focus multicolored holiday lights] Emily Brooks www.emilybrooks.com Winter holidays are all about people. And as hard as that is for me as an adult with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and anxiety disorders, that’s also why I love them! In the hope that other adults or teens with ASD can benefit from my mistakes and experiences, I’ve compiled my tips for dealing with the holidays. Give When You’re Out of Money and Ideas If you’re like many adults with ASD, you struggle with employment or finances. Try not to panic if you can’t afford expensive presents. When choosing and making presents for your loved ones, it’s keep in mind that gifts are less about the actual objects and more about showing people you care. If you have a little money but you aren’t sure where to spend it, search through cheaper…

Getting Through the Holidays!?

We chose the punctuation above for a reason — cautious optimism and the hope that, with the right guidance and attitude, we can make it through the winter holidays, possibly even with some happy memories. So if you, your families, and your friends are hunkering down for the holidays; and if you, like some of us are also a bit … stressed about changes in routine, location, or faces — consider what the wise folks below have to say about navigating this most tumultuous time of the year. And if you have any advice, please leave it in the comments below! Happy Holidays, friends. -The Editors —- Self-advocate Annabelle Listic: …it is especially important, during the holidays, for any autistic person to have:  A way to communicate basic needs, emotions, opinions (a travel dry erase board, sticky notes with simple language on each, a typing program on a phone, tablet,…

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How Telling Your Autistic Kid Santa Isn’t Real May Not Go As Planned

Photo © operabug | Flickr/Creative Commons [image: Crying East Asian toddler being held up to encounter  a cheerful waving white man dressed as Santa Claus.]  Kate Foreword from the author: This essay contains large Christmas spoilers, and may offend some people with deeply held theistic beliefs. If this is you, I recommend that you stop reading now, and if you read it anyway and are offended, then please do not complain. I was two months shy of ten when I learned the truth about Santa Claus. I was in fourth grade, and a year or two earlier, my voracious reading had convinced me that there was no way for it to be true. But then my best friend, told me that she had, in fact, stayed up until midnight the last Christmas Eve and seen him with her very own eyes put the presents under their tree. It never occurred…

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TPGA’s All Ages Holiday Book Guide

Do you love to give and receive books? We love to give and receive books. So for you and for us, here’s a short selection of recommended books by, for, about, and enjoyed by autistic people and their families. If you have additional suggestions for books that you, your child, or your clients enjoy, please list them in the comments. And consider TPGA Editor Kassiane Sibley’s suggestion that books focusing on a person’s special interest topic are … usually a good choice. Non-Fiction    Loud Hands ($24.99) – Julia Bascom “Loud Hands: Autistic People, Speaking is a collection of essays written by and for Autistic people. Spanning from the dawn of the Neurodiversity movement to the blog posts of today, Loud Hands: Autistic People, Speaking catalogues the experiences and ethos of the Autistic community and preserves both diverse personal experiences and the community’s foundational documents together side by side.” Keep…

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Let Me Stim, Let Me Stim, Let Me Stim

The holidays are upon us, and that means hanging with folks who might need a nudge or a gentle reminder about holiday kindness and accommodation for autistic kids and adults, on being nice about understanding autistic behaviors versus assuming naughtiness. One thing we’ll be seeing in our house as my son adjusts to an atypical schedule is stimming. Lots of stimming. Some of Leo’s stimming needs redirecting, but most of it is functional and self-soothing. Our friends and family get why Leo stims and what he needs, they have his back; Leo will be fine, we’ll be fine. But if you or your child need stimming functionality backup or want to help understand why stimming doesn’t just matter but can be very necessary, I suggest citing Zoe’s About Stimming, or Julia Bascom’s The Obsessive Joy of Autism. Or, you could just sing folks this song, which I came up with…

Finally Finding Holiday Gifts for Kids With Special Needs

Shannon Des Roches Rosa www.Squidalicious.com www.ThinkingAutismGuide.com Our family’s holiday traditions include: nightly panic over conjuring surprises for the 24 tiny drawers in my kids’ advent box, sending holiday postcards weeks after Christmas to a random one-third of the folks we love — and answering queries from family and friends about holiday gifts for Leo, our eleven-year-old son with autism. I am quietly freaking out over those first two, but thoughtful questions about appropriate gifts for Leo — I appreciate those, so much. While finding presents that appeal to my son can be tricky, I’ve become a pro at it and make suggestions with confidence. Here’s my advice for parents, grandparents, aunties, caregivers, godparents or friends looking for that perfect gift for kids with special needs. Don’t get derailed by age ranges on toy labels, because they don’t always apply. One of Leo’s all-time favorite toys is a Flip Flop Egg…

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Surviving the Holidays While Autistic

Photo © skywaykate | Flickr/Creative Commons [image: Photo of a table set up to serve a holiday buffet, lit by candles.] Corina Becker nostereotypeshere.blogspot.com Up here in Canada, we had our Thanksgiving back in October, so we’re all getting ready for Christmas/Hanukkah/other winter holidays.  I’m going to be very honest: I celebrate Christmas, so my default for the holiday season is Christmas.  This doesn’t mean that stuff I say cannot be used for other holidays, it’s just a religious difference, use as need. But I’m kinda using my own experiences for this, so I’m going to resort to my default of Christmas.  Also, I’m mainly addressing parents in this post, but I’m certain that some of these pointers can be used for Autistics of all ages. But yes, the winter holiday season is approaching, and it’s a very busy, hectic and overwhelming time of year, full of all the things…