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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Our Peaceful Thanksgiving and Avoiding Holiday Meltdowns

We had a very peaceful Thanksgiving Day.  It was just the three of us and that was perfect.  Joe went to pick J.jay up while I got the bird in the oven and started on preparing snacking foods to tide everyone over until The Meal at about 3:00 p.m.  I don't know what got into me but I had purchased a 20 pounder for just the three of us.  Thank heavens Joe watched a video on youtube on a simple way to carve the turkey and he wound up deboning the entire bird.  What an easy clean up after the meal.  I've now got premeasured packages of turkey labeled and in the freezer.  I brined our turkey for twenty-four hours and it made a huge difference on the juiciness of the white meat.  I think this will be a standard practice from now on.  Having a Butterball helped also. 

J.jay spent about eight hours with us and we enjoyed each other's company.  No arguments or hurt feelings which can be so normal on holidays.  Quiet, peaceful and thankful...our 2011 Thanksgiving to remember.

Having a member of the family on the Autism spectrum means that holidays can be stressful.  Having Thanksgiving rituals can be a way of avoiding them.  Most ASD people live a structured life with as little choas as possible.  Making your holiday as less chotic as you can will reduce and potentially eliminate a meltdown.  Have a routine, include them with duties within their skill range.  If you have out of town guests this too can upset the applecart in an ASD child's life.  Talk to them in advance. show them pictures and maybe let them talk on the phone to the family and friends coming.  Make a special effort if they are going to sleep over.  By telling your child the possibilities you'll take the scary aspect away from unfamiliar people in your home...a break with routine.

J.jay has reached the age and the stage where we don't have to pre-plan as strict as we used to.  It's a blessing to have your ASD child at home celebrating a holiday without any meltdowns.  Yes, we had a peaceful Thanksgiving this year, the first in a long time and the first of many more to come.