For Halloween…I wondered will kids be able to go trick or treating? Or will they have the loss of something fun and so strongly associated with childhood. Well the children in our area did go but with quite a number of changes.

Now approaching Thanksgiving, the governor of our state tells us the numbers are at a critical level and asked that holiday parties be restricted to those living in just your household….so no big fun dinner like the last few years where we had 25-30 people here.

So how do you explain this next loss or change to your special needs child? This loss of the holiday that they expect? For us? We plan to focus on the way these changes may feel positive to her….tell her the things that she will like about these changes…for example…..

I think for us, we are going to try to tell Elizabeth about the changes without raising anxiety. Due to her special needs of Sensory Processing Disorder ( SPD) and Global Dyspraxia, she can become anxious quickly in certain situations. So we are going to tell her that due to the virus, we are going to have a quiet holiday.

We will tell her about the small, quiet, cozy dinner. Because she likes smaller functions where there isn’t such pressure to talk to alot of people. She will feel happy and calmer as the holiday approaches.

I will tell her that she and I will cook some of the meal together. She loves to cook and looks forward to it each week but with a big party it is not easy for her to feel relaxed as she cooks….after all there is pressure to have everything done at the right time.

I will tell her that she can relax after dinner. With her special needs, she requires some downtime after a big event and when there is a big party, she doesn’t really get the quiet even if she heads somewhere alone.

I will tell her that we have so much to be grateful for and we can talk about those things.

I will tell her about the fun things we will do as a family that evening. and then I will write down the fun stuff so she can “count” on it happening.

I know the challenges of COVID have been so many since back in March and that round 2 or maybe 3 by now, will continue to bring them. But I am thinking that the losses we will feel as we are forced to let go of beloved traditions will require a lot of reserves to cope as well as the ability to plan as best as we are allowed. And then, for those with special needs children, we need even more reserves to help our children navigate and understand more losses and letting go this years as best as they each can.

I wish everyone safety and peace this week.

Please, please wear a mask….we need it more than ever now.

Michele Gianetti author of I Believe in You

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