For those who have been following my recent blogs, I know I spoke about how nice it was to have Elizabeth enjoying her own schedule again. This was after a summer and early fall of pretty much nothing but adjusted schedules, changes and time off.

In the words of Elizabeth…”I have my life back”

And it has been nice….really nice.

When we do her schedule together each week, she can put down all the information easily as it is now a nice routine.


Then I just had this thought and it was… the Holidays are coming.

Which on one hand is great. I mean who doesn’t love the feel of the holidays, traditions, family and the like? But on the other hand, is the truth of the holidays for those who have a child with special needs in their world and that is…

The holidays mean change. For us, I want to add…AGAIN

This means the days we are enjoying in a nice rhythm will not be in that same way soon.

This means that the days will take on a new shape with different obligations, things to experience and do. And while this may be a good thing, it doesn’t mean it isn’t an adjustment that can be really hard for our children.

So, when I think holidays, I think good stuff and then IMMEDIATELY think about the tough stuff.

I wish I didn’t do this but life with our beautiful Elizabeth has taught me otherwise. So being prepared early and ready for the changes is actually the best way to go about this fun season.

At least in my opinion.

So back to Elizabeth’s nice schedule. Something I learned on the tough summer we had was that even though she is 25 years old, her disorder of global dyspraxia makes organizing and planning her thoughts and actions hard. So when she is faced with open ended time, she is really not the best at figuring out how to fill it effectively and needs help with this.

So this summer all the open ended time actually created anxiety and this is something I learned we can offset with some planning. More detailed planning than just a daily schedule. Planning that is reflective of her current interests and activities. Meaning, that since she likes to work, when her work with the schools is not available because it is the holidays and they are off, we need to find volunteer options or maybe work another day or so at her other job.

She loves to sing and do her workouts with her trainer, but when those are not available, again, due to the holiday break, we need to find something to fill these spots that challenges her. Maybe a new workout on the computer or another session with her reading tutor.

I guess the point is that for Elizabeth, see the future changes coming, and taking the right actions can help her feel less adrift and more anchored with an adjusted schedule. Maybe not the one she loves so much, but a good one nonetheless.

I don’t want anyone to see the holidays and want to run for the hills. But maybe see the holidays coming and take a moment to really think what you liked and didn’t like about last years and what you did or wished you did last year or even what you wished you had not done. And then think about how or what you want for this year.

The gift of those darn red and green decorations going up so soon is that it is like a warning flag of what is coming. And the other gift is that we can use that warning to plan as best as we can for our children who need that extra help to adjust and have happy times.

The other thing is that with nice, advanced planning and hopefully the peace it brings to your child will then bring peace to the family because I speak from experience that when Elizabeth is anxious or unsettled it does affect the family and our home.

The calendar will flip to November soon, so now is a really good time to do some thinking and planning.

I wish everyone a peaceful week,

Michele Gianetti author of Elizabeth Believes in Herself.