December 8, 2016
Jonathan Stewart is an Epic Health Services employee who has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. Jonathan uses art as a means of expression and therapy. Jonathan hopes that his contributions will encourage patients to believe in themselves and strive for their dreams – just like he is doing every day!
Light the tree, prepare the stockings, and before you know it we find ourselves in the middle of our biggest holiday season of the year. Jonathan is here to discuss how someone with Asperger’s prepares themselves for the various events that may take place during the holiday season.
“Family visiting changes my schedule.”
Being prepared and knowing what was going to take place was very important when the family came to visit. Holidays bring a lot of joy and gifts but going over how many people were coming and what changes were going to take place was very important. My parents went over the changes and talking to me before these changes happened helped me a lot as well as my sisters.
“Preparing an Itinerary was very important when traveling.”
For me, it was either Iowa or Honduras when it came to holiday trips, but both came with the same steps to get ready. My parents would go to the airline website and make sure we knew everything about the flights. They would print a full itinerary, and a schedule would be built to make sure we would stay on top of things. Once we arrived at our destination the best way to get used to our new environment was to get a tour of the place where we would be staying as well as meeting some of the new neighbors too.
“When decorating a home, coming up with a strategy is very important.”
For people with my disability, if they aren’t used to decorating their homes it can be a bit overwhelming. For me, it was best for my mom and dad to come up with a strategy so that everyone knows their specific role. This also will help each other out so that we would get things done and no problems would happen. Some of the roles that I would take would be:
- Retrieving the non-fragile decorations from the attic.
- Organizing the decorations so that my family could easily access them.
- Helping place the non-fragile decorations on the house or tree
“Stay calm in crazy malls.”
As a young child, I was not used to the craziness of holiday shopping. All of the noise and chaos can be very stressful. One way that my parent helped me in these tough situations was to have calm and positive conversations with me. Their calm presence helped me cope in the mall environment.
Knowing where you want to go before going to the stores is a must; it saves you time and the headaches from being in those crazy malls too long. Even when it came to our tree, we had the specific measurements to make sure it would fit just right when we would bring it home.
With all these tricky festive situations, being prepared is the best way to handle everything the holidays will bring and to understand what Christmas is and celebrate it every year.