Our son Hunter did not used to be very good in a crowd or at family functions but he is improving. We have learned methods to work with him in these situations. We use certain words that he lets us know when he's had too much, he'll say he needs time out, so we find a room where nobody is in and we take the time to use sensory things to help him. We use massage pressure points and stretch and put our feet together and pull with our hands back and forth. Sometimes we use the iPad or\ toys that he likes, I carry a lot of things. Sometimes he prefers me just to hold him very tight then he goes back to playing with his cousins.
Each year we get to stay longer when we go to the department stores, that's a little rougher but usually I'll take something with me like his little cars so he can spin the wheels. We usually can only make it to one store at a time because it gets too loud. I am always telling him to hum to himself. He likes to tell people to be quiet so I have to remind him that that is not polite but he is getting a lot better. This Saturday I got him to sit on Santa for the first time people in line didn't not understand why I was crying like a baby, but I was so thrilled I could not stand it.
I did not think he would ever sit on Santa's lap. When he was done he looked at me and he said "mom I made you very happy, you love me. I told him "I love you no matter what, but yes you made me very happy, you gave me the best present you could ever give me" He hugged me so tight I couldn't trade that child in for anything in the world. The only thing he asked Santa for was more lights and more Christmas time and snow. It might not happen the first second or third or even fourth time but as long as we keep trying they will do it eventually. They are all so special in their own way. God bless them all merry Christmas to everybody. Happy New Year.