I don’t know if this is true for the rest of y’all out there, but the extra long period of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas has been tough! I feel like having 4 weeks between the holidays has given my students time to build up anxiety, stress, and fear surrounding the holiday festivities. We can’t pretend like the holidays aren’t happening, but we can help to ease the stress of our students. My solution to this is always: SOCIAL STORIES!
Holiday Social Stories
The Autism Helper has a great pack of Christmas specific Social Stories with a set of Q&A to encourage comprehension (Holiday Social Stories and Visual Questions). My students have been enjoying this straightforward social story that gives the basic facts of being out of school and what to expect. So much of our student’s anxiety is simply not knowing what is going to happen. If we can give them an outline of events, then they can put some of their fears to rest. As a result, they can focus on being at school and maybe even having some fun during the holiday season.
Sometimes your student needs a customized social story because they are fixating on an exceptionally specific aspect of their holiday season. For some students, a brief dry erase version will suffice. Seeing the facts in written form can simply help them organize the information to store it away. For other students, a printed version will be better because they may need to revisit the social story several times.
Visual Calendars are a great help during this season because they can take the guessing out of “When will we have school?”, “When will we be at home?”, and “When will we be traveling?”. This will potentially take some coordinating with your student’s family to get the dates, but it is worth it to ease your student’s uneasiness and anxiety. A calendar that they can cross off or visually refer to is a great tool to help students get a better picture of what to expect during this unusual time. TAH’s Visual Calendars.
My class has been enjoying TONS of holiday activities from The Autism Helper to support their understanding. Every one of my students has WH questions in their IEP and the Holiday WH Question Mini Pack has been so fun. I always like when I can address their goals while keeping the subject matter enjoyable and engaging. There are also File Folder Activities, Adapted Books, Reading Centers, and (always a favorite) December Bingo. These activities can address countless goals and objectives, encourage communication, and build class rapport.
I hope these social stories, calendars, and activities are a help to you and your classroom during this holiday season! You are almost there! Don’t check out! Have fun with your class and enjoy the season as much as you can! As always, if you’d like to see more of my classroom and my every day teacher life, follow me on Instagram @ausometeaching. Happy Holidays!