The holidays are a joyous time to spend with family and friends. It is also a time to reflect, be thankful, and give to others.  Here at CCRN we are thankful for all the amazing children and their families we are blessed to serve, the opportunity to work with supportive school personnel and administration, and the ability to share our knowledge and expertise to help improve a child’s quality of life.

For many, the holidays can be a stressful time of year.  It can be incrementally more stressful for families with special-needs children for a variety of reasons. Studies indicate that special-needs parents are 50% more likely to manifest depression or anxiety just by virtue of the magnitude of the demands tugging at them during the holiday season (Fawcett and Baskin, 2006).  Our CCRN staff empathize but also recognize where our support is needed most this time of year and are ready to assist by helping to make suggestions related to coping skills, as well as strategies to prepare the child for all the changes and overstimulation that accompany the hustle and bustle associated with the season.

The holidays bring unique and additional challenges for families with special-needs children including, but not limited to, overstimulating environments, travel, unfamiliar faces, changes in daily routine, and large, noisy crowds of people.  As a Behavior Specialist Consultant (BSC) and Outreach Liaison for CCRN, my sole focus is the child and the team I am supporting.  I work closely with the school team to equip the child and family with the necessary tools to help lessen the impact associated with the holiday season including implementing ways for your child to communicate their thoughts and feelings and guide them in finding the physical and emotional space they need to cope.  I assist in pairing staff strengths to client’s needs as well as leverage long-standing relationships with school staff and administration, with the goal of delivering the most effective and efficient services possible.

Our holiday wish from the staff at CCRN is that you and your family can find success using the suggestions and support we offer and are able to focus on making the most of your time as a family and enjoying all that the holidays have to offer.  What’s most important is that you make the holidays meaningful for you and your children. Have faith that your child is doing the best that they can to cope, and so are you! No one can ask for more than that, so take a breath, let go of your expectations, don’t be ashamed to ask for help, do your best to prepare, count your blessings, and enjoy your moments by remembering what the holidays are all about.  I came across the link below and thought it provided some great tips and suggestions in the event you find it helpful.  Wishing you and yours a very blessed and stress-free holiday season this year from our entire CCRN team.

13 Holiday Survival Tips For Your Child With Special Needs
Photo Credit: Andrik Langfield Petrides