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Posted by: Rebecca Bazzoni 7 months ago

Holiday gatherings can offer opportunities to connect with family and friends, and to celebrate traditions. Holiday gathering also mean new locations with unfamiliar faces, sights, sounds, smells, textures, temperature and light levels…just to name a few. Some advance preparation for holiday gatherings may increase opportunities for engagement and increase holiday accessibility.

Celebration Preparation…Talk it out.
o Point out the day on the calendar and explain how the schedule will look different. Children use routine and consistency to make sense of their world. Holiday celebrations that are outside the norm may require advanced introduction or discussion.

Visual Schedule …See what is coming.
o Discuss expectations. A year between holiday celebrations can seem like a long time to a young child, and they may have questions about what to expect, what order things will occur in, and most importantly when presents will be opened! A simple visual schedule or list can assist with letting your child know what to expect.

• Communicating needs …Increase awareness.
o Higher amounts and new sources stimulation may pose a challenge for children with sensory sensitivities. Communicating the need for a quiet space at a holiday gathering offers opportunities both for sensory regulation and increased community awareness. Noise-cancelling headphones or a white noise application on a cell phone are some of my favorite tools!

Accessibility Spotlight: Adaptive Wrapping
Holiday gatherings often involve gifts, and for some children opening gifts may be more difficult. While gift bags offer one option, adaptive wrapping techniques may increase accessibility and independence. Check out the links below for accessible gift-wrapping options, and happy holidays!

• Step by step instructions:,-or-How-I-Learned-to-Love-the-/
• Video link:

Written by Courtney Erick, COTA-L

Joe's Kids has been our saving grace. They have been right there with us 100% of the way.
Susie Owen's Mom