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How to Host an Inclusive Holiday Family Gathering

The holiday season is quickly approaching, and this is the time of year most of us look forward to all year long. If you’re hosting a family holiday gathering and have relatives or friends coming over who have developmental disabilities, you can make them feel special and welcome by hosting an inclusive holiday party. Before you being to plan your holiday festivities, RISE Services, Inc. Oregon recommends reviewing these tips for hosting an inclusive family holiday celebration.

How to Host an Inclusive Holiday Family Gathering

Ask Guests About Accommodations

Begin planning your holiday family gathering by asking guests with developmental disabilities about any accommodations they may need. Perhaps they have dietary restrictions, and as much as they would love to, they can’t have mashed potatoes and gravy or roast turkey. Maybe there’s a better time of day for them to visit your home. If transportation is an issue, you could ask another relative to pick them up and drop them off on their way over. Simply asking individuals living with developmental disabilities how you can accommodate them at the family party will make them feel like welcomed and valuable members of the family.

Consider the Environment

Prepare your home environment for entertaining guests who have developmental disabilities. Do you have a relative who uses a wheelchair, walker, or another mobility device? Move furniture around to accommodate them and make sure there is a clear path to all the main areas of the home like the dining room, family room, and bathroom. If you have children or adults coming who have been diagnosed with autism or sensory disorders, setting aside a quiet area for them can be especially helpful. Holiday family get-togethers can be loud and noisy. Prepare a bedroom or office area as a quiet zone that can help them relax and stay calm if they become overstimulated.

Remind Guests Not All Disabilities Are Visible

While some disabilities are more obvious than others, there are many disabilities that are not physically apparent. Mental health conditions, autism, hearing loss, and sensory difficulties are just a few of the disabilities that go beyond the physical. This is where it would be especially helpful to remind all guests who are coming to your home to be kind and respectful of everyone. Adding a short sentence about the accommodations you’ve made, such as the quiet room or transportation assistance, in the invitation can also act as a reminder to all who are attending the big family celebration.

We Support Adults & Children With Developmental Disabilities

At RISE, we provide opportunities for people living with developmental disabilities. If you have a family member who may benefit from our employment services, residential services, or supported living services, contact us today. We look forward to helping your family member thrive and grow with our person-centered and custom-tailored children and adult services.

Source: “How to Make Your Holiday Celebrations Inclusive for Everyone.” Web article. Easterseals Northern California. Web. 11 Nov. 2022.