Sanctity for Special Souls: December 2010
Adjusting Expectations for the Holiday Season by Mary Lou Rosien
We all have wonderful memories of Christmas past and great expectations for Christmas to come. When dealing with children with special needs, however, those ideas may need to be adjusted. For our special needs students the new sounds, smells, and even the excitement can prove very difficult.
I remember when my oldest son was five years old. At that time, he was our only child and we went a little crazy that Christmas. We took him to see the lights. We had a huge pile of gifts under the tree. We wanted him to experience all the traditions we had loved as children.
We sat under the tree looking just like a Christmas card picture, little did we know that the smiles would soon become screams and screeches as our poor son became overwhelmed. He had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (along with some other issues) and Christmas morning proved to be just too much. Add to that the fact that we had taken him to midnight Mass and he was exhausted. I look back, twenty years and seven children later, and I wonder what were we thinking?
When we are planning Christmas Catechism lessons or activities, we need to consider how our special students might react. Do they need additional transition time? Do we need to limit the activities that day? How will these students react without their regular schedule? When we plan our December classes with these things in mind, all our students may benefit. Thank you and may God bless you during this Advent season.