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The Festive Season is a time of celebration for many families and young people, but it can also be a period of change and challenge for many who have Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

This year has been particularly difficult with people spending extended time at home, so we have worked with Portsmouth Parent Voice to create this section to produce some tips and advice for the Christmas and Holiday Season.

Wishing you all  safe, healthy and happy festive celebrations and New Year.

PPV Top Tips for Surviving the Festive Period for Parents and Carers

  • It’s ok to say no to family and friends, if your child/young person is only able to manage a few hours, then that’s ok. If you drive and have an option of taking two cars or can use a relative’s car if needed, this means other siblings can enjoy their day. Remember to follow coronavirus guidelines as much as possible when you’re travelling.
  • Create a visual plan for Christmas eve and Christmas day.
  • Create a quiet space if family and friends are around, to be accessible at all times, or you can designate one room in your home that is Christmas free.
  • Shop online wherever possible and if you need to venture out, allow the child/young person to create a plan with you to help prepare them, look out for quiet
  • Create a top tips list for family or friends who will be spending time with your child/young person who may not have an understanding of their condition or needs.
  • Stock up on arts and crafts.
  • Don’t be worried if you need to leave an event due to your child/young person not coping.
  • Forget about Christmas even if it’s for 30 mins and do an activity that interests your child/young person.
  • Environment changes such as decorations and smells can be quite overwhelming, decorate slowly and introduce strong smells slowly with arts and crafts and baking activities. You could even ask family to reduce perfume and aftershave.
  • Break up present opening thought the days following Christmas day. Make gifts ready to use to reduce waiting after they open them.
  • Don’t worry about new clothes. Plan outfits before Christmas eve for the next few days, also remind family and friends about sensory issues if they would like to buy clothes.
  • Think about Christmas dinner, remember they don’t need to eat it and that’s Give them some of their favourite foods on the table with their dinner. Don’t be worried about changing the time you eat if it works better for your child/young person.
  • Plan a calming activity for when things get too much e.g. A walk outside or a movie.

and importantly……try to look after yourself. 2 weeks or more at home due to COVID-19 can be a long time and can be quite stressful. If you can, take time out to do something for yourself or as a couple. You can also use this opportunity to reach out to family and friends for support.

Local Support During the Festive Season

Portsmouth City Council have lots of information on keeping safe this Christmas and a list of organisations who can help if you are struggling over the festive period. You can reach this information by clicking here.

For SEND family support and to reach out to local SEND services visit our Support at Home page.

Portsmouth Foodbank – Portsmouth Foodbank is a project founded by local churches, community groups and individuals working together towards stopping hunger in our local area.

Portsmouth Baby Bank – Portsmouth Baby Bank aims to help alleviate child poverty and support families during times of financial and emotional stress, whilst reducing waste and promoting reuse of items.

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Contact the Portsmouth Send Local Offer to gain help, get more information or to leave feedback about the website.

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