The school holidays are here and Christmas is just around the corner! During this time of the year, there are lots of fun-filled Christmas activities and holiday camps for kids, which are not only great ways for them to learn and experience something new, but are also great ways to keep them occupied! What’s more, every shopping mall and building in Kuala Lumpur is decked out in their best Christmas decorations to awe and amaze shoppers and visitors alike!
Here are EAP, we believe that all children, including children with autism, should have the opportunity to learn and experience what typical children do – including the holiday activities and festivities! In today’s article, we have selected a few events and places that you could bring your child with autism to, and we will also share a few tips on how you can set up your child autism to be successful!
Places To Visit In Kuala Lumpur During December 2020
1. i-City Theme Park
i-City is one of the latest attractions within the Klang Valley, and some of their attractions include their WaterWorld, SnoWalk, Red Carpet, City of Digital Lights, Trick Art Museum and several others rides and attractions.
Click HERE for more info!
2. Pavilion Kuala Lumpur
One of our all-time favourites each year is the Pavilion mall, located within the heart of Kuala Lumpur. Each year, they put up themed Christmas decorations that are sure to wow visitors of all ages. This year, on display is a Star Wars themed Christmas – which includes a replica of the Millennium Falcon, cockpit access and hyperdrive tunnel, a meet and greet and much more! So if your child is a fan of the franchise, you would want to check out the decorations and different experiences they put on each day!
Click HERE for more info!
3. Sunway Putra Mall
This year, Sunway Putra Mall has decked out their shopping mall with an Austrian-themed Christmas decorations, which sets a warm and festive atmosphere. They have a variety of activities for kids such as meeting Santa, playing in the snow, and a Kaleidoscope Room. What’s more, Sunway Putra Mall is also the first autism-friendly shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur, where they have an Autism Friendly Shopping Day every Tuesday from 10am to 5pm!
Click HERE for more info on their Christmas Events.
Click HERE for more info on their Autism Friendly Shopping Day!
Other Christmas/Holiday Activities In Kuala Lumpur
Aside from the above shopping malls, there are many other Christmas and holiday activities happening around other child-friendly places in KL too!
1. Jungle Gym Atria
Click HERE for their list of activities.
Click HERE to learn more about their special 1-day-only Christmas Joy event!
3. School Holiday Camps
Check out this blog article by Happy Go KL to find out about the different holiday camps happening throughout the city of KL!
Preparing your child with autism for Christmas events
Before you whisk your child off to one of these attractions or activities, do prepare your child with autism in advance! Here are some tips and strategies to help you prepare your child with autism for a successful visit:
1. Show your child visuals of the places, attractions and activities
With the internet and various social media platforms, you would be able to easily access photos and videos of the places, attractions or activities from the comforts of your own home. Nowadays, most of the shopping malls and places in KL would have their own website, Facebook or Instagram page where you can view updates on their latest happenings. Prior to visiting the event, it would be important to show your child with autism what the place/event is going to look like, in order to visually prepare your child on what to expect at the place/event.
2. Consider your child’s skill sets and potential challenges
While visiting tourist attractions during this Christmas season, it would be common for most places to be decked out in bright and shiny Christmas lights and decorations, with festive music playing over their speakers, and you can expect there to be a crowd during peak hours.
If you child with autism has sensitivities and/or tolerance issues to various stimuli or aspects, it would be important to reconsider the above suggested places, or to perhaps build up your child’s tolerance before the actual visit.
It would be important to think about what your child may find difficult during the event, such as:
- Bright lights
- Loud sounds
3. Plan to go during off-peak hours or weekdays instead of weekends
This is particularly applicable to shopping malls, where crowds may be at their peak on weekends, which can be quite overwhelming for a child with autism. We would suggest taking your child with autism to visit the place during off-peak hours in order to keep your child successful.
4. Prepare a social story and visual schedule
Social stories and visual schedules are a great way to communicate to your child what will happen at each step, and what is expected of them.
While planning for your big day out, we would suggest factoring in short break times in between each activity, or after a set duration (e.g. 30 minutes of activity, then 10 minutes of break) in order to keep your child successful.
We would also suggest for you to pack along some Busy Bags, preferred toys/activities and snacks to keep your child occupied should there be waiting times.
5. Have a back-up plan
If your child does find the experience overwhelming, have a back-up plan of where you could go:
- A nearby place that is less crowded and quiet (e.g. toilets, parents room)
- A child-friendly area (such as children’s play areas in shopping malls)
- For indoor events, you might position yourself nearer the exit in case your child needs to step out to help them calm down
- Bring along objects that help calm your child (teethers, squeeze balls, preferred toy item)
From all of us at EAP, we would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! We hope that you and your family will get the opportunity to experience the spirit of this festive season!