FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A local restaurant is helping parents with kids who have special needs be well prepared for the holidays.
“I feel like the holidays can be very overwhelming,” said Paula George, a mother of a teenager with autism and the executive director of Autism Involves Me, a non-profit that supports families who have kids with special needs.
On Tuesday, her organization offered tips to families in the community dealing with the same holiday stress.
“I feel like providing these classes for families to have these takeaways will hopefully help make their holiday season a little bit easier. And a little less stressful,” said George.
George says what makes the holidays stressful is not being prepared in advance. She says this not only can impact kids but parents as well.
“As parents of kids with special needs, we do quite often get nervous when we know we’re going to be around groups of people,” said George.
The event offers activities and advice to help make the holidays less stressful for kids and families.
“If you’re going to a family’s house, a picture may be of their house, that they’ll know that that’s where they’re going, pictures of who they might see when they get there, and just an entire social story about what that trip is going to look like,” said George.
Other tips include creating a quiet space and having noise-cancelling headphones. As a mom, she says she understands how much having a support system can help through the holidays.
“We’re very blessed that we have some very supportive family and friends that understand, you know, what he needs there in these times. But being able to collaborate with other families and help them through the journey has been great,” said George.
George says she has high hopes Tuesday’s event will have a great impact on families.
“Just trying to give them a really fun experience for Christmas and just some great tips on how to help that be an easier experience for them,” said George.