Think about how many news articles or radio interviews address the challenges that Americans have with the holidays. How many people do you know that struggle to connect with their families during this time of year? Now how many of those people have a neurological difference that makes regular life difficult? For some, this time of year is gifts! parties! family! friends! For others, it is gifts :( parties :( family :( friends :(
When it comes to "surviving" the holidays, people with special needs are no different from the rest of us. We could all use a little time to ourselves. We could all use a little slower pace. We could all use good, clear communication of expectations.
We can also all benefit from practice. How do we know what to expect from a family dinner? Well, we have done it enough times that we remember not to bring up politics when Uncle George is in the room. This is the same for any learner that has trouble in busy or complicated environments. They probably just need more practice than it seems.
I have a few ideas from my experience.
Rather than expecting that someone "will never eat THAT!" Expect that you could offer it to them and whether they want it or not, they can pass it to the next person.
Instead of "he really hates it when anyone sings" Perhaps the message is, "don't worry, they will only song one song".
Maybe "she doesn't play board games with others" becomes "you can bring us the box and if you want to play with us you can be on my team".
Perhaps bring food, music, or games from home that the learner is already comfortable with can be a bridge between where they are and where the rest of the family is?
Special learners deserve special times too so just because their first reaction is not the same as yours, doesn't mean they can't learn to be a part of the group in their own way.
I think they can be Happy Holidays. We at Engage and Mundopato wish you the very best at this time of year.