Any holiday is tough for children on the autism spectrum given that the day is usually completely different from their daily routine.
The 4th of July is one of these days where we gather with our family and friends to celebrate our Independence Day. But this holiday is hard for our kids due to the fireworks and get togethers, that is why we have developed some helpful tips so you and your child can enjoy!
- Plan ahead: Take desired toys that you know your child can’t live without, take snacks and food that he/she enjoys, and make sure that there is a quiet, calm place for them to go to in case it gets too loud for them- make them comfortable!
- Stay in close proximity: If you are going to a large family gathering, stay in close proximity to your child at all times. Remember that he/she doesn’t like to be around large crowds or even a celebration.
- Set a timer: Let them know an approximate duration by setting a timer. Some children just like knowing the start time and duration of an activity.
- Know the signs: Keep an eye out for signs of anxiety or discomfort, such as an increase in particular behaviors that may indicate it’s time for a break.
- Consider headphones: If your child can tolerate headphones, then use them to your advantage. These can cancel out the sound component of the actual fireworks while allowing your child to enjoy the display.
- Use sparklers: If your child cannot tolerate the sound of the fireworks, find a quiet place and make a quiet firework by using sparklers. These are a great way to allow your child the opportunity to see the light without the loud noise of fireworks (*must be supervised).
- Make a Social Story: If possible, write a personalized social story that includes all the things your child will experience during the gathering. Social stories are a great way to prepare kids. Here is a great Independence Day social story developed by: Positively Autism http://www.positivelyautism.com/downloads/socialstory4thofJuly.pdf
- Have a Plan B: Whether it’s staying home to do different activities or watching a movie, having an alternative can make for a successful 4th of July when needed.
We hope that these tips will be helpful. We wish you a great long weekend with your family and friends and a safe 4th of July!