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Sunday, November 5, 2017

Holidays are often exciting times for most of us.  However, for kids with disabilities they can be noisy and confusing.  When it is difficult to understand what is going on around you and harder still to talk about it and ask questions, it’s no wonder so many of our ‘kids’ show increased signs of anxiety and some of what we tend to call “acting out” behavior.

Holidays aren’t frequent enough to fall into the “routines” category when it comes to teaching language skills, but there are some similarities from one holiday to another that can be used to promote building familiar vocabulary.

Cooking and eating are a big part of a lot of major holidays.  While there are some religious days that call for fasting, there’s plenty of eating afterwards.

Being in large groups of people is also usually a part of holidays; depending on the size and location of your family.  The larger the group gets, the harder it is for many kids to maintain control.  In the midst of other noisy children, talking adults, crowded rooms, and even music, many of our students with sensory issues, communication issues, and physical disorders become overwhelmed.

All holidays also have vocabulary, sequences, and questions that accompany them.  Teaching those words, phrases and skills to students before they get to “real time” can help students out a lot.  “Front-loading” information before-hand gives students a chance to get comfortable with what will happen, what might be said, and the sequence of events that they might find.
With Thanksgiving looming right around the corner, now is a good time to start talking about the vocabulary (turkey is at the top of the list - unless you’re a vegetarian), the sequence of activities, and to practice working on some Wh questions relevant to the occasion.

Enjoy!  Try not to over-eat. And……..keep on talking.

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