It’s that time of year again—time for bells and lights, songs and get-togethers. This is a wonderfully exciting time for us all…and potentially an overwhelming time for our little people who are blind or visually impaired. Here is a hint that might make a chat with someone very special or a visit from Auntie Harriett a little more fun for your kiddo. Readiness is the key.
First, it helps to talk with your child about the upcoming visit or experience so he can get a little prepared. Maybe practice some of the activities that will probably happen ahead of time. If a visit to Santa is in your holiday plans, you might gather a fake beard, a velvet hat or even a snippet of velvet material, candy canes, jingle bells, and anything else Santa might have on hand. Your baby could feel the materials and objects as you tell a little story about Santa…like, “this feels like Santa’s beard.” For toddlers the materials could be glued to cardboard to make a Santa visit book. A simple little story about going to see Santa could be fun.
Another way to practice is role playing. One adult could be Santa and you and kiddo could go through a play visit. Fun is the key ingredient. When the big visit comes, simplify it as much as possible. A trip to the mall when it isn’t crowded would be a less confusing time for your child. Afterward you could review the visit by telling the story of the visit several times. Hopefully your child had a fun time and has stories to tell of her own, plus a lot of things to think about. Whether your family is going to Santa or going to family’s homes for a party, the same readiness plan will make the holiday experience more fun. So the hint is to practice the experience beforehand, make the event as simple as possible and review afterward. Most importantly, have fun!
And Happy Holidays.
Editor’s note: check out Emily’s article series for more great ideas on how to incorporate social skills and other Expanded Core Curriculum skills into the holidays.