Friday, December 3, 2010

Hannukah & Autism

This week Jewish families celebrate Hannukah, the Festival of Lights. This eight-day holiday commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean of the 2nd century BCE.  This year Hannukah is celebrated from December 1st to 9th.   Kids on the autism spectrum usually want to help lighting the Menorah candles, so be prepared!
Jewish children look forward to spinning the Dreidel, the four-sided top with Hebrew characters printed on it, and receiving Hannukah gelt, usually gold foil covered chocolates or small gifts.  The Dreidel can be a bit of a problem for some kids on the spectrum who get hung up on spinning objects, so be prepared for Plan B, some alternative to the dreidel. The dreidel song goes, I have a little dreidel, I made it out of clay, And when it's dry and ready, Then dreidel I shall play! Too begin the dreidel game, each player should have about 20 raisins, nuts or small candy bits. Each person puts one piece of candy in the middle of the table. Then each person takes a turn at spinning the dreidel.  If the dreidel stops on the Hebrew letter Nun, the player collects nothing from the pot, Gimmel, the player gets it all, Hey, The player collects half of the pot , or Shin - The player sets one of his own items into the pot. When only one piece of candy or raisin or nut is left in the middle each player adds another piece of candy. When a player has all the candy, that person wins! Kids with autism often have difficulty not winning when the dredel stops, so you may want to modify the rules.
Though it’s a bit late for this year, families might enjoy logging onto the Skreened website run by Aspergirl, through which screened T-Shirts with apt images and slogans abound.  I’ve embedded a couple of examples I especially liked. 

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