Welcome! Today, we will discuss some coping skills and tips for all the sensory challenges that come with winter time! Follow along as we begin with the concept of winter, all the way to navigating winter and holiday activities. 


Challenge: Concept of Weather! 


Some children, teens and adults with ASD have difficulty coping with the change in season. Understanding daylight savings, fluctuating temperature, weather conditions and why our routines change around this time of the year. A great practice can be the use of a calendar! Early preparation can help with routine changes and understanding that the days are going to change in various ways. Additionally, a daily overview of the forecast, what should be worn and sunrise and sunset times can plan out the day! 


Challenge: Wardrobe and Uncomfortable Materials


Along with a decrease in temperatures, snow on the ground and the dark hitting us earlier than usual; we have to change what we wear everyday. Individuals with ASD may find certain outfits routine, safe and familiar. Wearing layers, thicker clothing, or handling materials such as fleece can prove to be uncomfortable. A great coping skill for this challenge is planning! Trying on, modifying and planning outfits for the winter time can make for a smooth transition to a change in routine wardrobe. In some scenarios, it may require choosing our battles, but safe and warm can come in many forms! It’s all about what is going to work best in every situation. 


Challenge: Navigating Winter Activities 


A great part of winter time is the fun things we can do outdoors! Skiing, sledding, ice skating, building snowmen, it’s all a blast! ASD should not hold our loved ones back from these exciting group activities. One word: Practice. Practicing activities before the day or time is an exceptional way to prepare for what is to come. For example, sitting on a sled in the house and being pushed around may be a great way to replicate the feeling of instability we have when sledding outside. Additionally, explaining activities step by step can make things feel more structured and comfortable. 


Overall, there are a lot of big changes with any season! Navigating change and ASD can have its challenges, but we can overcome anything with the right methods and tools. The commonality among everything we have discussed today is preparation, practice and patience. Choosing and developing the right process for new experiences is vital to setting up our loved ones with ASD for success! 


Team, T.-O. S. (2021, February 19). Sensory struggles in Winter. Twentyone Senses. https://www.twentyonesenses.org/2021/01/12/sensory-struggles-in-winter/