With the right outlook, we can really appreciate the unique opportunities and insights brought into our lives by children with exceptionalities. However, even at the height of our enthusiasm and optimism, some situations we encounter with our children will still be daunting, bringing us to wince at even the first hint or thought of them.
One of these situations, for many parents and extended family members, is Thanksgiving. If the thought of traveling, having THE set menu and eating with a slew of boisterous family members of all ages raises your blood pressure, first know that you are not alone. Many, many families are less than thrilled this time of year.
Take a step back. Maybe even grab a piece of paper and a pen. What about your plans can be modified? How can the compromise be reached to present a tolerant-to-enjoyable experience for all parties involved?
- Can you avoid traveling so far? Maybe dine with different guests this year?
- Can the menu be somewhat modified or can an alternative be given for those in need of something a little different?
- Can the meal be started earlier than usual in order to avoid The Witching Hour?
- Can the meal participants be spread out a little more than usual by dragging in a folding table? Everyone might appreciate the extra room.
Also, thankfully, we have reached a point when exceptionalities are no longer anything to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. Nobody is perfect; we all have our strengths and weaknesses. If you still foresee the possibility of difficult behavior popping up, brief your guests or hosts ahead of time so they know what to expect, what to avoid doing or the most efficient reactions to quirks that might crop up.
Your child is incredible. With thoughtful foresight and loving cooperation all around, everyone can indeed have a happy Thanksgiving.