Thanksgiving during the COVID-19 pandemic

Thanksgiving 2020: An Opportunity for Families with Special Needs

Nov 11, 2020

It’s been easy to complain and get frustrated with so much this year (we’ve all done it!), and as the holidays approach, we’re each trying to figure out how to balance traditions within this year of change. This Thanksgiving, maybe your family normally travels but is instead opting to stay home. Or maybe you typically host a large Thanksgiving dinner with extended family and friends but are keeping things a little smaller this year.

Altering Thanksgiving may feel like one more loss in 2020, but for families with kids with special needs (and really, all families with kids!), a low-key Thanksgiving may offer some advantages – including an opportunity to enjoy different elements of the holiday this year. For families with special needs, here are a few of the pluses of a smaller, low-key Thanksgiving.

No Travel

This one is obvious. Any parent who has ever practiced and role played and practiced some more for an airplane trip with their child with Autism knows travel can be a real challenge. It’s doable, yes, and frequently totally worth it, but staying home this year means no stressing about airport meltdowns or triple checking that you have the headphones and your kiddo’s must have favorite toy.

Virtual Visits

We’re all familiar with Zoom and FaceTime by now, and while fatigue with these face-to-face video calls is real, virtual visits offer some fantastic options for accommodating your child with special needs. A video call with family can be made from a location that is comfortable and comforting, can include toys or sensory play, and can be done at a time that your child is calm and ready to engage.

You Set Meal-Time Expectations

When eating at someone else’s house (or hosting family and friends at yours), there are often different expectations for how long kids should sit at the table, how much/what to eat, and what’s allowed (or not) at the table, such as electronics. A low-key Thanksgiving at home means that you set the expectations that work best for each member of your family, including your child with special needs.

Bonus: Dinner at home means that you may be able to get your children involved with the cooking and preparations. Being involved often creates buy-in and may just make some of the unfamiliar Thanksgiving foods appealing enough to give a try.

At Innovative Behavior Options, we partner with you to prepare an ABA therapy plan that works for your family and meets your goals. To learn more about ABA therapy and the services we offer, give us a call at 770-250-0093 or check out our website.


1155 Hembree Rd, Ste. 210
Roswell, GA 30076


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Phone: (770) 250-0093 ext. 700
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