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January 2011



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Children and young people with autism and their families offer advice on coping with Christmas.

A group of families with children affected by autism have got together to produce a film offering advice on dealing with the Christmas period, and are inviting other families from around the UK to get involved and add to the discussion.

The film is live at www.autism.org.uk/christmastalk. Parents and carers and people affected by autism have the opportunity to comment on the video, upload their own tips for Christmas or participate via Facebook.

Young people from the families that are featured attend a social group in Bristol provided by the National Autistic Society (NAS), the UK’s leading charity for people affected by autism, their families and carers.

Most children and young people in the UK look forward to the festive season, the family get-togethers, decorations, presents, Christmas dinner and generally being away from school, but all of these can cause huge anxiety to people with autism. Change to routine can be very traumatic and lights and noise can cause sensory overload that can be unbearable. Many have dietary issues that are magnified during this period. The shops are crammed with people, adding to their anxiety and extended family members lack understanding of the disability.

So how do parents and carers cope and manage to have a trauma-free Christmas that can be enjoyed by the whole family?

Jane Smith explains on the film: “Decorations can be upsetting for my son. We cannot have much decoration and the tree has to be set out a certain way. He does not like balloons because he knows they pop and he cannot handle the noise. It can be upsetting for other members of the family who would like more decorations but we cannot risk it for the anxiety it might cause.”

Read in Full:  http://www.autism.org.uk/news-and-events/news-from-the-nas/talk-about-christmas.aspx

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