By: Brenda Allair, Lead Educational Consultant
The holidays can be filled with family gatherings, traditional foods, and exciting activities. They can be a time of celebration, but if your Deafblind child isn’t always able to participate in or access these traditions, it can also be an emotionally challenging time. For many families, there can be joy in creating new traditions, ones that are inclusive to your child’s needs and that celebrate the season in ways that are meaningful to the whole family. Here are a few ideas that you might find helpful as you think about creating or adapting your own family’s holiday traditions:
- Food is a big part of many holiday celebrations, and this can be overwhelming for children who have difficulty with new foods or those who don’t eat orally. It’s okay if your child eats their favorite food at the holiday table! Consider including children when preparing traditional recipes, encouraging some taste-testing for those who are able to eat by mouth, and stirring, mixing or simply just smelling for those who are not oral eaters. And of course, everyone can join at the family table for conversations or simply being together!
- Consider making tactile crafts together, or find activities that allow children to have the delightful scents of the holidays – cinnamon, pine trees, cookies – in non-edible ways, such as making Gingerbread Salt Dough Ornaments together. You can also create Sensory Bins with pine cones, hot cocoa, candy canes, and other holiday-scented items.
- Lights are part of many holiday celebrations and can be a great way for children with some usable vision to participate! Young children may enjoy sitting near the tree or Menorah, while older children may be able to help with hanging the lights with some assistance. Holiday light displays can also be great for the whole family to enjoy.
Remember, holiday traditions are meant to bring families together, so it’s okay to do things a little bit differently if it means everyone is having fun!