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Seasonal checklist for adults

Jane Oliver, Senior Families and Professionals Advisor (Adult Enquiries) has some ideas to help you manage the festive season


After some of the calls that have come into the office in the past few weeks, I thought it might be helpful to just go over a few of the more common triggers that might lead to a “challenging behaviour” for an adult. For more information about the definition of challenging behaviour please see this link from the Challenging Behaviour Foundation.


I know we are nearing the festive season with all its excitement, but this might bring its own uncertainties for many adults. So, I thought just a quick recap on what might spark a difficult moment might be helpful. This is not an exhaustive list though and there may well be others for your son or daughter. Also please forgive me if you look at this and think 'I don’t need reminding' - I’m sure you don’t but it might be helpful to explain to others.


So here goes….

  • Forced eye contact.

  • Unclear expectations.

  • Only giving verbal instructions and not giving enough time for the person to process them.

  • Issues around routine including a change to it, not enough of it, a lack of consistency in it or too much spontaneity within it.

  • Issues around sensory processing including too much noise, too many people (this might still be a relatively small number too) flashing lights, not enough personal space or limited access to a calm quiet space.

  • Moving (transition is the “posh” term) from one thing to another even if it’s a preferred activity.

  • Waiting when you’re not sure why you have to-or even if you do know why sometimes.

  • Not being allowed to finish an activity-this is frustrating for a lot of people. We all like to finish what we started much of the time.


This is a very quick checklist if you like. I thought it might be helpful to also share some calming or relaxation exercises suitable for everyone really. You may find the ideas in this Calm Down Book (by Janet Conklin) helpful, which you can download and print here:


Christmas is great but it can be overwhelming too. So with that in mind have the best of fun. 😊


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