Including Your Child in Thanksgiving Preparations

November is always a very special time of year. No matter how busy we are we take time to stop and be with friends and family for Thanksgiving.

At Thanksgiving time, families have the opportunity to make traditions and do fun things together that are so important for strengthening bonds between parents, children and grandchildren. We all enjoy routines and memorable events. For students with special needs, rituals and routines become especially important! Think about what you enjoy doing with your children at Thanksgiving and during the month of November. If you always make certain foods for the holiday, include your children in the preparation. For children who read, they can help tell you what is next in the recipe or what else needs to be purchased when shopping with you at the grocery store. For non-readers, you can make a word document shopping list or recipe with clipart images for your child to “read.” Augmentative communication devices can be programmed to have the desired items listed and catch phrases such as “We need…” “Let’s get…” or “Next add…” can be used before selecting a food item when shopping or making the recipe. AAC devices can be taken to the grocery store. Students learn that their device is their voice and that it can be used in all areas of their lives. It is powerful for children to be able to order what they want at a fast food restaurant all by themselves! These events build memories that they can talk about later.

Remember to take photos of special family events and family members. The whole family will enjoy sitting down together and looking at the pictures from time to time. Encourage your child to tell about what he likes to do with Grandma, Uncle Pete, or Cousin Sam. Help them to express feelings about events. “It was fun playing Uno with Pop-Pop on Saturday. I won!”

This time of year is truly special. All of us at Rock Brook School wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving.