December Newsletter | Celebration

←Read past newsletters

Spending Time Together and Navigating


Spending time with friends and family is an important part of our lives, but sometimes celebrations can be challenging for students with autism and related disabilities. This holiday season, many families are also navigating new traditions or routines due to COVID-19. Holidays may look a little different this year, so we're here with a few tips and supports to help teachers, students, and families in celebrating this season.

Navigating the world safely

Students and their families will have to adjust to a variety of new scenarios this season for COVID-19. Families opting to stay in may adapt—or even create new—activities and traditions around their celebrations. Families going out may have to navigate new procedures or routines. To support families in staying safe during their celebrations, the Media Center gives subscribers access to our COVID-19 Staying Safe unit for helpful visuals, activities, and video models. Not a Media Center subscriber? Access our free handwashing supports and the My Staying Healthy Social Script.

Supporting new routines

Focusing on routines is a great way to support students through celebrations. Routines allow students to learn new skills by providing predictable steps to follow; this predictability then creates frequent opportunities to master those skills. If an upcoming celebration includes unfamiliar or less frequently used routines, start practicing these routines beforehand to build familiarity and set students up for success on the big day. Daily schedules are also a great tool to support students in knowing what routines to expect during their day. We’ve added some celebration-themed icons to our free Daily Schedule Template in our Home Supports. Add these new icons to your students’ schedule, and start practicing new routines!

Spending time with friends and family

Many friends and family members might not be able to gather in person for celebrations this year. This means using phone calls or videos chats as ways to connect instead. Support students in virtually connecting with friends and family using our free Conversation Phone Tips and our Making a Phone Call Home book in our Home Supports.

Families living together can use celebrations as a great way to spend quality time together. Looking for a new game to play this celebration season? Click the orange box to the right to try the Scavenger Hunt activity from our Celebrating Together Themes First! unit. Media Center subscribers can find the unit here.

However you end up celebrating this year, we hope the holidays bring joy. If we can help you, your students, or students’ families navigate the holiday season, don’t hesitate to reach out!