Autism And The Magic Of Christmas: Decorating With Your Autistic Child In Mind

Posted on: 8 June 2016

Celebrating the holidays can be challenging when your child has autism. Holiday gatherings and decor can generate a lot of sensory inputs that your autistic child isn't used to processing. Decorating the home in a way that is both festive and comfortable is a priority for families with autistic children.

Here are three tips that you can use to ensure your holiday decor lends itself to creating the magic of Christmas (autism style) within your home. Look for holiday decorations for sale that fit with the following criteria:

1. Only use ornaments that can safely be handled by your autistic child.

An autistic child might not understand the dangers associated with handling glass orbs or ornaments with pointed edges. To ensure that your autistic child won't inadvertently injure him or herself on an ornament, invest in tree decorations that can safely be handled by an autistic child.

Felt ornaments made from various shapes cut out of felt and then decorated with beads, paint, or ribbons can add color and interest to your tree, but don't pose a threat to your autistic child if he or she happens to remove the ornaments from your tree during playtime.

2. Only feature non-blinking lights inside your home.

Holiday lighting can contribute to the festive ambiance you are trying to create inside your home, but lighting can be a source of distress for an autistic child. Many children on the autism spectrum show an aversion to bright lights or lights that flash.

Since many holiday lights blink or twinkle, these strands of lighting could create discomfort for your child. Opting to invest in only non-blinking holiday lights to decorate your home and tree will allow your autistic child to find more enjoyment in the holiday season without preventing you from decorating your home's interior to create a magical holiday living space.

3. Avoid decorations that randomly create sound.

Many popular decorations rely on motion-activation to create sounds. Whether a decoration tells a funny story, sings a hymn, or delivers a Christmas greeting, these random noises could frighten your autistic child. Instead of investing in decorations that randomly emit sounds, choose to purchase decorations whose sound features must be activated by pressing a button. These types of decorations allow your autistic child to maintain a sense of control over his or her environment, since sound is only produced when he or she pushes the button.

Creating a safe and magical holiday atmosphere inside your home when you live with an autistic child can be challenging. Just remember to use soft ornaments, non-blinking lights, and avoid decorations that randomly create sound, and you will be on your way to enjoying the magic of Christmas -- autism style.