So the holidays are here again. A change in routine and lots of stress. Wow and are our kids reacting. I know every year that this is hard for my kids and yet seem to feel stressed each time. So this year I am planning ahead. We have made picture charts for the holidays. So yes it is a change but it isn’t going to be a negative one this year. Everyone will still know what is going on. I am also not going to overdo. The kids don’t want that. They may say they want a ton of new stuff but new stuff brings stress. So I am sticking to the mantra of “something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read”.
I am no longer trying to outdo anyone with my gift giving. I don’t know when I started that but boy I definitely got into it. When kids have neurocognitive issues like Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) they struggle with change. So the change in the house (our overdecorating), the change in their schedule (Christmas break) and then all the chaos of family coming and going and present giving causes new and interesting behaviors.
We did a tree this year. We all spent a day making new and inexpensive ornaments for the tree (and a lot are already broken). I am not upset as these creations were never meant for the long haul but just for fun and to make the tree look more festive. The tree went up 2 weeks before Christmas and is our only decoration to date. I am okay with this as I have had no fights or issues.
We have 2 days left of school before break. I have worked on activity and picture schedules for these 2 weeks that will be different for them. The kids have helped us to design these so they know what is ahead and are able to think about it. They also feel good being able to be part of the planning of these days.
I am enjoying my holidays so far for the first year in a long time and I think the kids are too. I feel like my whole family is happier at this point. We are remembering why the holidays are important and we are able to enjoy things as a family. Remember not to stress the little things and to look at where your children are functioning. Not how old they are or what you think they should be able to do or handle but what are they able to do and handle? It isn’t about what we wish they would do but what they can do. I am so incredibly impressed with how far my kids have come. They remind me daily of what it looks like to see someone overcome. I know that the more we can offer them positive experiences the better they will continue to do.
While every day families of children with FASD deal with behaviors the fact is that every day we are dealing with a physical disability. Providing the right supports is the only way to see a positive outcome. Remember that if you aren’t enjoying how things are going neither is your child.