A Safe Christmas for those with Asperger's

Christmas - the season of cheer - can be very stressful, especially for people on the autistic spectrum who can get easily overwhelmed. How can people with Asperger syndrome help create safe and peaceful Christmases? Here are three ideas for starters.

1. Recognise everyone has different expectations 

From watching TV we could think everyone celebrates in the same way. No.  A stress-free season starts by recognising that your expectations, good or bad, are not universal.  Everyone has their own set of traditions and ideas.

Talk and more importantly listen to others. Don't assume, explore and learn the expectations of family, friends and colleagues.

2. Learn your limits for social events 

A glut of parties and invitations can be hard to deal with.   

Firstly work out which invitations actually need a response.  Some may be open invites which you can ignore. Generally it is good to prioritse events that are most important to people closest to you. You will want to keep your relationships with these people running smoothly, and this will go a long way to showing you care.

It may help if you can make a genuine excuse to leave a party or event early such as children to put to bed or other people who can only see you on the same day.  Plan your travel arrangements carefully, considering the needs of those travelling with you.  Ensure they know your plans.

3. Create safe space and use it

Make sure the people you are with know you need space where you can be alone at times.  If necessary take a short time to go off for a walk.  You may be able to ask family or friends to help negotiate this for you. Make sure you take breaks when you need them.  

For more ideas see this excellent article: The Aspie Guide to Surviving A Family Christmas