Occupational therapist Pamela Modugno

“We all want our kids to be very successful during the holidays,” says occupational therapist Pam Modugno. “The holidays are stressful for everyone but with planning and starting in advance it can be enjoyable for everyone.”


“Start talking about Thanksgiving right now. Talk about where it will be, who will be there, and what you will do. If your child will be sitting at the kids’ table with cousins, talk about that. If your child needs a social story, you can make a visual picture of the event. Show a picture of the home you are visiting, and the people who will be there. You could even face time with your hosts to show your child the unfamiliar house and do a visual tour.”


“Plan to arrive a little early before everyone is there. I’s less overwhelming. If your family does a lot of hugging and kissing, and your child does not like to be touched, educate your family beforehand. Teach your child to say hi and wave or high-five instead.”


No Pressure


“Tell your child there will be a lot of different food, but they don’t have to eat any of it. Let them explore the food if they are interested but be sure there is no pressure at all that day. Bring food your child likes, but also make sure your child eats before arriving. “


“Make sure your child is wearing comfortable clothing. No scratchy formal wear! Have a backpack with favorite things and sensory items like a blanket, squishies, fidget spinners or a calming bottle with glitter.”


“Establish a safe place – outside or even the car if you need to get away for a while.”


“If you can, recruit a person there to help you with the child, so the responsibility is not all on you the entire time.”


“Most important of all, says Pam, “Have reasonable expectations. Be thankful and try to make the holiday as enjoyable as possible.”


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