Thanksgiving is a yearly holiday that families and friends all over the country come together to celebrate. It can be an overwhelming holiday for someone with autism, especially if they don’t understand what is happening. Here are some great tips to help you prepare to have the best holiday possible!

1.Explaining What Thanksgiving Is

Do it in a way that your child will understand. Explain to your child that it is a national holiday celebrated every November. Focus your lesson on what your child is most responsive to. If your child likes history, talk to them about the history. If your child likes videos, find a video on YouTube that explains how the holiday is celebrated.

2. Explain That Thanksgiving is a Day to Give Thanks

Giving thanks for the things that make us happy – like our parents, siblings, grandparents, our home, a favorite toy, and much more – is an important part of the holiday. Creating a fun activity for this can be great. Making a list or drawing will help with their spelling, writing, and verbal skills.

3. Getting to the Thanksgiving Festivities

Thanksgiving is celebrated at a number of places – friends, parents, cousins, sisters, etc., and the day may require you to do some traveling by car, plane, or train! Prepare for the travel time. You know your child best and how they may react to a plane ride, or long car ride. Explain to them where you’re going and why. Don’t forget the toys, books, and snacks for the ride!

4. Dinnertime

Thanksgiving is often celebrated with a big group of people and excessive amounts of delicious food. Share with your child the traditional dinner your family shares. Make sure there will be something for them to eat – in case of any allergies, or for those picky eaters.

5. Family and Friends

Thanksgiving dinners can vary from being very large to very small. With family members from wall to wall! Explain to your child who is going to be there, especially if they tend to get overwhelmed with large crowds. If possible, arrange with your host to have a quiet place your child can go if they are feeling overwhelmed. Find a place where they can sit or lay down, away from all the noise and people.

Remember it is a holiday about being thankful. Be thankful for having your very special child with you and your special family. Don’t stress too much, if you prepare the holiday will go great!

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!

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