We just finished off Thanksgiving and now we’re heading into the rest of the winter holidays (depending on what you celebrate). The holidays can come with beautiful christmas lights, decorations, traditions, and joy–but they can also come with an immense amount of stress, especially for individuals with autism. As an autism school for teens, we try to best prepare our families and students for the holidays.

Why the holidays can be harder for those with autism

Think about who you see and what you do during the holidays. For most people, the holidays are filled with gatherings and get togethers of friends and family members you only see a few times a year–this can be extremely stressful for a teen with autism. Why? Because socializing is already difficult and then you add in these people that are almost strangers to them.

The holidays also mean a lack of normal structure. As an autism school, we understand that individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders benefit from structure and predictability–the holidays are the opposite of that. School’s out, which means a lot of extra time, and there’s probably random relatives coming through at different times, which can be incredibly confusing and stressful for someone with autism.

What a parent can do

To make the holidays a little less stressful and easier to get through for a teen with autism, take a look at these tips from our autism school.

  • Make Sure They Know You’re There for Support. Before you attend a holiday social event, make sure to sit your child down and make sure they know that at any point during the event they can come to you for support. Sensory overload is definitely a thing for those with autism, so just stress to them that you’re there if things get overwhelming.
  • Space Out Events & Tell Them When One Is Coming Up. Trying to do one social event after another sporadically can be extremely difficult for a teen with autism–they need time to cool down and recoup. Warn them a few days ahead of time that they’ll be going to a party or gathering so your teen has time to prepare themselves and get comfortable with the idea.
  • Keep a Structured Schedule. Though you cannot mimic the exact schedule of school, keeping it pretty close to that could really help. For example, if they wake up at 7 every day and go to sleep at 9, try to stick to it for the most part, only moving it an hour up–if at all. Having a calendar up that has when all events are could also be very helpful.


Seven Stars offers residential treatment for ADHD

Seven Stars is an autism school that combines residential treatment with adventure therapy to create a multifaceted, effective program for teens, ages 13 to 18, struggling with emotional and behavioral issues as a result of their neurodevelopmental disorder.

We embed the objectives we have for each student into daily activities and teach emotional wellness skills such as conflict resolution, problem solving, social awareness, academic skills, self-efficacy and prosocial behaviors. In our autism school, we strive to help each of our students develop the skills necessary to live full, productive lives.

For more information about how our autism school at Seven Stars can help your teen, contact us today at 844-601-1167.