The COVID-19 pandemic is causing many people to alter their holiday traditions, which could prove more challenging for those dealing with autism.

Interim Director of Autism and Behavioural Services at Hands theFamilyHelpNetwork, Karen Grattan-Miscio, says this time of year can be very difficult for people who are on the spectrum.

“One tip we recommend for families is that before decorating for the holidays, explain what will be happening and the changes that will be occurring in their home,” Grattan-Miscio said. “It’s helpful to start adding decorations slowly so that changes are not occurring all at once.  Involve the person with autism as much as possible. If using scents or musical items when decorating, try testing them first to see if they are tolerable to the person with Autism before including them in the home.” 

Families are also being asked to share their own traditions and tips for a happy holiday season on the Hands Autism Services Facebook page. 

Other autism-related tips for families over the holidays include creating a visual calendar to show all the events happening during the holiday season and use a visual countdown for Christmas Day. 

This shows the individual with autism what will be happening.

For more information and holiday tips, you can head to the Hands website.