Top tips to support young people with SEND over christmas

Large gatherings, unexpected changes in routine, bright lights and loud music are among elements of the festive season that could make it difficult to navigate for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their families.
Top tips to support young people with SEND over christmas

Share this post

Choose a social network to share with, or copy the shortened URL to share elsewhere

This is a representation of how your post may appear on social media. The actual post will vary between social networks

Charities and organisations supporting young people with conditions including autism, global development delay, an autism spectrum disorder and hearing loss have offered tips to help those with SEND enjoy the celebrations.

Action for Children’s Parent Talk

Parent Talk is a free online advice service that matches parents and carers with trained parenting coaches for 121 advice.

Parent Talk Adviser Jo Thurston has compiled these tips:

  • Make a list of what your child finds difficult. This could be anything from big crowds, loud noises, surprises or bright lights. Try to think about when they might experience those. How could you avoid those situations? If that isn’t an option, consider how you can help your child prepare, ahead of time.
  • Try to prepare your child each day for what’s coming tomorrow. Talk to them about who will be there, what they will do and what they’ll eat. Some children might like to have some control over some of these things. You could give them a choice between two or three different activities.
  • Try to keep some of their routine the same. It can be helpful to start and end their day with something you would usually do. Think about morning routines, as well as bath time, bedtime and story time.
  • You may also need a plan for the possibility of unexpected visitors. You could see if they want to play in a different room when visitors arrive and share pictures of visitors in advance, so they’re familiar with their faces.
  • Be conscious of sound and smells. Let your child know when there is going to be strong smells in the house. It can help to protect their bedroom from any smells or give them alternative scents. Try essential oil rollers or lip balm on their wrists.

For free information, support and advice for parents go to

Ambitious About Autism

Charity Ambitious About Autism has shared tips from autistic young people on how to make the holidays more inclusive for them.

These include:

“Dim the lights and have a quiet area.”

“Explain to me what type of present I will be receiving, for example a craft kit or food.” 

“It helps to work up to the full Christmas arrangement, for example by eating together   

“Don’t force autistic people, or anyone, to do something and let them have a rest or quiet time if needed.” 

“I need access to sensory spaces if I am overstimulated.”

“Please don’t play loud music in public areas.” 

“Keep Christmas lights and decorations to a minimum. If this cannot happen, have at least one room (at home, school or the workplace) that doesn’t have any Christmas decorations that an autistic person can go to if they need to get away from everything.” 

“Allow me time to adapt to my surroundings, or any increased social expectations.”

For the full blog and more advice click here.

Tips to support deaf children

The National Deaf Children’s Society has shared advice to help make the festive period more inclusive for children with hearing loss:   

Please sign in or register for FREE

If you are a registered user on SEND Network, please sign in