How does one with an ASD prepare themselves for Thanksgiving?
In reality it seems pretty simple to normal folk, but for many of us on the spectrum it does take a lot of emotional preparedness! It also helps tremendously if family is understanding of our needs. But what if there are still obvious challenges and obstacles? That is when adults on the spectrum must be sure to step back and take care of our own needs as much as possible.
First, it helps to know if you are having Thanksgiving at your place or at a family/friends place. Then you need to find out what is being served. It really is a nice gesture when the one cooking prepares, or sets aside, something you really enjoy if they are asked politely. It really does help ASD people from having stomach problems if they are sensitive to certain things and it can also help reduce stress as well as anxiety when the person has something they love to eat on their plate.
When things become overwhelming, it is always a good idea to know where an ASD person can go for some quite time and privacy. This in turn will help prevent meltdowns or possible inappropriate behavior from happening when things get overly chaotic for them. Having something to do or a stress ball can also help. Just having choices and resources are extremely important for everyone to have a successful thanksgiving. Hopefully those attending will be understanding and allow the ASD individual to do what they need to do when things get a little crazy. Although, ASD people are occasionally bound to run into people who just refuse to listen or understand and accusations of the individual not liking to be around them or they are just using their disability as an excuse not to do something can start in sadly.
Hopefully this gives those of you ASD people out there a basis of what to go off of. If all else fails, sometimes it’s best to leave if people do not understand you have needs as well. It sometimes isn’t easy to do so, but if we can learn to be more forthright we can just hope those who claim to care for ASD individuals to come around and learn and understand a bit more.