Elliott is 2 years-old, has Down’s syndrome and is supported by our Southwark home learning team. His mum writes about what he enjoys the most about Christmas and how they will be spending the big day this year.

"Christmas with Elliott is jolly good fun, as long as everyone sets their expectations aside and goes with the flow. Mostly it’s just like Christmas with any small child, except he doesn’t walk and talk, and likes eating the wrapping paper.

Making adjustments for Elliott

Up until now we’ve always visited family for Christmas, but the long journeys and unfamiliar environments are catastrophic for his routine and sleeping habits, so this year we are doing our first Christmas at home! This way we can control the environment and the only surprises will be happy ones; we’ll keep it simple, fun and magical for him in a space that he knows.

Elliott especially loves having people around; we always say people are his favourite toys – but last year he got completely overstimulated, wouldn’t sleep and was over stimulated by tea time, so this year we will be tactically spreading out the family visits over the holiday period. That way it won’t be too overwhelming, and everyone will get some quality time playing with him. That’s important because he’s changing so fast at this stage – and he’s still the youngest of our extended family, so everyone wants a piece of him!

Bootlace sweets, Singing Hands Christmas DVD and Ewan the Dream Sheep

The day itself will start with stockings in bed, probably with the cats’ help. Elliott loves the lights and colours of Christmas, and most of his gifts will be sensory – light and sound or tactile, but not animatronic toys, which are scary. He’s also obsessed with eating paper and electric cables, so I’ll probably ask Santa to give him some bootlace sweets or rice paper as a distraction. And chocolate, which he loves - his first clear Makaton sign was “chocolate”, so it’s a great motivator for him!

Breakfast will be his usual cereal, giving him a familiar anchor point in the day. I expect there will be lots of playing and a Singing Hands Christmas DVD while the Christmas fairies cook lunch and family arrive. He’s mostly good about eating solids but it’s very unlikely he’ll eat a full Christmas dinner – mostly because he is 2, and prefers yoghurt and crisps to anything else. We’ll offer him some of everything, and whatever he does eat is a victory.

After lunch, depending on excitement levels and fear of missing out, we may just be able to persuade him to nap. It will be much needed - he gets so excited, plays so hard, finds so much joy in things that it charms everyone. If he doesn’t nap, he’ll get very wound up and cross by the end of the day, but we’re at least experienced at managing that these days!

Weather permitting, the afternoon will include a nice walk around the block for some fresh air (in the buggy, as he’s not walking yet). Turkey sandwiches for dinner (although Elliott will probably insist on chocolate).Then mulled wine/milk and an early night with Ewan the well-loved Dream Sheep."