Holidays are times where families enjoy spending time together and the traditions surrounding the holidays. It is important to include each member of the family in creating memorable moments especially if a member of the family has a disability or special needs. It is important to find ways to help everyone connect so know one feels uncomfortable or left out. Sometimes those with special needs receive more attention and their siblings feel left out and sometimes those with special needs are left out of preparation or traditions because of their disability.
Coming together to make everyone a part of the holiday will help everyone to bond and enjoy some very special moments together. Here are some great tips for including family special needs:
"Tips for Developing Traditions with Special Needs Children:
*When planning a meal for a child with food allergies or other special diet needs, try to offer several choices of special foods if possible and serve the special foods in festive dishes so the food is seen as special too.
*Share special family stories and memories, and be sure to include the special needs child as well as others.
*If your child has difficulty sharing stories because of language issues, allow him to show pictures of happy events or times that were special for him.
*Have each person share something they are thankful for, or share something they appreciate about the family.
*Read stories about the holiday together. Choose books with illustrations and words that your special needs child can understand.
*Be sure to take pictures of everyone, and display them for everyone to see. After the celebration, help family members place photos in scrapbooks.
*Include your children in decorating for the holiday. Provide your child with some appropriate choices for decoration, and allow her to choose what to display and where. The holidays are such a special time, creating family memories and traditions which will stay with your special-needs children the rest of their lives.
*Allow your child to participate in food preparation, setting the table, and clean up as her ability levels allow.
*Include your child in making invitations and sending thank you notes. If your child has writing difficulty, allow him to use stamps, color designs or images, or decorate with embellishments that are appropriate for his age and developmental level.
*Keep realistic behavior expectations, and plan alternative activities for your child when she needs a break from others. Know your child's limits, and ensure adequate nap time or time away from the noise and stimulation that sometimes comes at family gatherings.
*Family traditions are things that families do together on a regular basis. These things can be patterns of behavior, enjoyable activities or a certain food that a family likes. It is important for families to observe their traditions even as their children get older.
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