At RISE Services, Inc. Oregon, we understand that this time of year is filled with holiday parties, Christmas programs, and family gatherings. Holiday family activities are crucial for many individuals as they feel appreciated, loved, and safe with fellow family members. This is especially true for youth and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). When you ask family members with I/DD to help bake Christmas cookies or share in a Hannukah meal, you tell them they are cherished members of your family. Below are three more reasons why holiday family gatherings are important for youth and adults with I/DD.
1. They Feel Valued
When your loved one with I/DD is asked to join your holiday family gathering, they feel valued. The type of event doesn’t matter, whether it’s an outdoor Christmas barbecue with extended family or an intimate Hanukkah dinner with immediate family members. Being a part of something special like this reinforces their self-esteem. Other ways to demonstrate that they are important is to ask if they would like to greet people as they arrive or be a part of the annual holiday gift exchange.
2. They Feel Secure
Most individuals with I/DD feel they can be themselves around their family. This gives them a sense of security, especially during exciting yet hectic family events. Loved ones and friends welcome them with open arms and treat them with love and respect. Family members help promote their loved one’s sense of security by accepting them as they are and allowing them to be themselves. A practical way to make them feel safe is to have a specific space for them to escape when they need a break from the family hustle and bustle.
3. They Feel Like They Belong
Value and security create a sense of belonging for anyone, including youth and adults with I/DD. Family gatherings reinforce this when loved ones with I/DD are actively included. Everyone wants to be a part of something special. There are several meaningful ways to show your family members that they are loved and accepted. Ask if they would like to play “Santa” and hand out gifts to others. Engage them in personal conversations to discover more about their life. Many individuals with I/DD will appreciate the thoughtfulness and kindness of fellow family members.
Happy Holidays from RISE Oregon
We wish you and your family a very happy holiday this year. If you or a loved one with an I/DD are interested in our employment services, in-home and community services, or supported living programs, contact us today. We are happy to answer any questions you may have.