Create Structure (when there is less/no structure)
November 9, 2016
Providing Scripts – ‘What to Expect’ (in the lead up to Christmas)
November 23, 2016

As the year draws closer to the end and the festivities of cultural and religious celebrations begin, day to day functioning can become a little harder and a little more tiring for those of us who have difficulties with social environments, sensory sensitivities or coping with change.

So it’s worthwhile thinking about how we can reduce the demands of day to day activities and ensure that we don’t completely deplete the energy of those who might struggle (particularly in countries like Australia where the end of a long school year is also approaching).

How do we do that? We can consider some of the following:

  • Take a break from the extra curricular activities that normally happen in the afternoons or evenings (or if these activities are important for a person’s physical and mental health, perhaps consider taking some time out from regular morning activities or having the occasional late start to school if possible).
  • Decide on the number of celebrations / parties that are safe to attend without overloading the social or sensory needs – and politely decline the rest (it’s okay to say no when a person’s ability to function depends on rest or down time).
  • Work out what is important to your family or to the family of the person you support and plan your activities around these things. By focussing only on what is important, we reduce the unnecessary demands that come with ‘filler’ activities or things that don’t offer real value to a person.
  • Schedule in rest time during the normal daily routine. Even if you are keeping additional activities and demands to a minimum, be aware that with everyone else around you being so busy or ‘festive’ that there will still be a certain amount of nervousness that may come simply from watching other people engage in different things.
  • Tone down the stimulation of decorations, music, festive smells and the expectation to hug or touch people when greeting them – all of these sensations can feel like an assault on the system for those who are sensitive, and we need to be respectful of that.

When we keep in mind that some of us may need to reduce the demands on our day to day experiences, we are all more likely to have a happier and more relaxed ‘lead in’ to the end of the year.

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