If you find yourself or parents you work with saying this, it is time to jump in and help! ALL children should enjoy the wonders of Christmas- along with Santa! For many years, I had parents tell me that the letter their child wrote to Santa in my classroom was the first time they ever asked for anything for Christmas.That makes my heart so happy- Santa is such a special part of growing up and we want all children to enjoy the magic of Santa!
But, wait- my child is nonverbal- how can he ask for anything? Don’t let that hold you back. Regardless of your child’s functioning level, all children can “write” (I use this term lightly- or type or use pictures, etc.) a letter to Santa.
How can I get started? Gather sales papers each weekend from the newspaper or spend time looking at toys online with your child. Talk about different toys and how you can play with them. If your child is able to circle items, allow them to circle some of the toys they like. If you are searching online, use a wish list at places such as Amazon or Toys R Us. In addition, talk to your child’s teachers and therapists- they may have noticed that your child really enjoys a specific toy at school or they may have an idea that would be perfect.
If it is not too upsetting to your child, visit some stores and look at toys they have chosen and see what they think in person. Is he still interested or he couldn’t care less? Is there something else that seems to catch his attention? Begin with more choices than you need and try and narrow the list down. Involve your child as much as possible so he knows that this is his choice.
For parents of a child who is non-verbal, you may want to use augmentative and alternative communication if you have access to this. Using a speech generating device is a great idea if you have access to one. Some schools have computer programs such as Intellitools that allow the child to choose which toys they like. If not, you can always use the pictures from the ads or print pictures and let your child choose the ones he likes.
So how do I help my child or student write a letter to Santa? Check back and we will talk more about that next time!