For a lot of children with Autism, however, it is a hard time with lots of noise, too many people and not really quite understanding why on earth we are celebrating a new year. Fireworks can cause distress, songs may need to be only from a certified playlist and food could well be snubbed in favour of retreating as far into themselves as is possible.
We're also thankful that while he would not dream of going to watch a firework display, he isn't too affected by the displays we can hear from our home and he does quite like the visual display they produce. * While researching this topic online, I came across a tip to use a virtual firework display - I thought this was a fantastic idea so I've inserted a video below. We spend NYE in a very familiar environment, either at home or (like this year) at my parent's so that we are not expecting too much of Badger, and he also has space to retreat to, should he feel the need. He also wont be keeping him awake at Midnight - he will be in bed at this point, but the evening meal, the celebratory drinks, the family movie and the chocolates and a few early traditions (to be repeated by adults at Midnight) will give him the real feel of NYE - hopefully.
Our new year starts with our new calendar! We will be purchasing our new calendar tomorrow, ready for January the first. While Badger already knows quite a lot of dates of importance for 2014 - and he is a whizz with dates and times, seasons and holidays - it always, ALWAYS, helps us to have that visual reinforcement too. Badger has his own calendar, separate to the rest of the family as he is prone to "scrubbing" (scribbling) out things or events that he would rather not take part in... especially going back to school. (Don't even ask why, I have no idea as he loves school.)
Anyway, below are some freebies for you to use tomorrow night, New Years Day or to squirrel away in your file ready for next year. I have made a PDF with some symbols, a resolution tree decoration (put on your Christmas Tree, if it's still up!) and an activity sheet explaining what NYE is, the words to Auld Lang Syne and a word mat of popular NYE vocabulary, as well as space to write in a resolution. Keep scrolling for outside links which may help. Happy New Year!
Free Activity Sheet about New Year: Word Mat, What is New Year?, Auld Lang Syne and space for a Resolution. Click here.
Free Picture Symbols (Using Picto Selector) based on popular NY vocab. Click here.
Resolution Tree Decoration Print Out. Click here.
Parent Coaching for Autism - Tips for celebrating an Autism Friendly New Year - I quite like the resolution tree idea, hence the free hanging decoration download above!
NAS has a very useful (and adaptable) guide to Bonfire Night... while a different celebration, the similarities when it comes to noise, crowd, safety matters are striking... the tips, I feel, are almost all applicable to NYE. Click here to go to the NAS page.