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Life is not a Hallmark movie.

Nov. 16, 2022

Who does not love a good Hallmark movie? Even if they don’t touch your heart, they are great fun to mock. Every holiday season there is an avalanche of Hallmark movies to enjoy. We can watch (or ridicule) hundreds of people from every walk of life celebrating the season and, of course, falling in love and living happily ever after. Unfortunately, life is not a Hallmark movie especially at the holidays. The reality is that we all tend to experience an increase of stress at the holidays regardless of race, family relationships or socioeconomic level. Add autism to the mix and you’re in real trouble. All of the different sights, sounds, routines, and foods can be very unpleasant for individuals who are routine dependent and overwhelmed by sensory input. For everyone’s benefit, it is imperative that expectations are realistic, and we remember the word “no”. It is OK if we don’t do everything, or we limit the amount of time we participate in activities. We all have holiday activities that we opt out of because we don’t enjoy them and individuals with disabilities should have the same right. Whether we are caregivers or family, we have to allow the individual we serve the right to choose without judgement even at the holidays. After all, the point of a Hallmark movie is to remind us of the happiness of the season. Unlike the movies, the only way to realize that happiness in our lives is to maintain realistic expectations and try not to overdo it at this time of year.