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YOUR holiday with your special needs child

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This time of year we all have a mental image of the “perfect holiday.” The picture varies for everyone – yours may include children in freshly pressed clothing sitting mesmerized by someone reading a holy book (or a not-so holy book), or a chaotic scene filled with rumpled wrapping paper and kids racing around with new toys. Whatever your image includes, you may be constantly rating your current holiday and berating yourself or your children for not measuring up to these impossible ideals.

Like curious children, allow yourself to ask “Why?” WHY do we do the things we do, year after year? If there is a meaningful reason then by all means keep the traditions going. But if the answer is merely a shrug or a “because that’s how we always do it” then maybe it’s time to rethink it. Sometimes traditions no longer serve us, and we must make new traditions.

Let it go. Just as special needs parents have to learn to ignore those ridiculous milestone charts and developmental scales; we have to realize that this holiday is unique to this year, this child, and this moment. That doesn't make it any less special, or any less of a memory to be treasured.

Toss out the ‘required” holiday menu and make your child his or her favorite food. So what if the cookies are oddly shaped or decorated differently than the ones in those magazines? Remember that flour-smudged smile, or that excited squeal when they came out of the oven, or whatever happy thing happened at your home. It’s your holiday with your child. Make it yours. Own it.

I hope your holiday is filled with love and joy, in whatever form that takes for you and yours.



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