Autism-Friendly Tips and At Home Advice for the Fourth of July
Independence Day is a great way to celebrate with family and friends, but we understand this holiday can cause some stress on families with children who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Many times there are loud fireworks, bright lights in the sky and music to celebrate this special holiday. These triggers can cause anxiousness, anxiety and a great deal of stimulation for children and individuals with autism.
To help conquer some of these fears, we have composed a list of helpful tips to help you and your family enjoy this special holiday from home.
Tip #1 – Have a discussion with your family and friends
Prior to celebrating from home, whether that be watching fireworks outside or having a barbeque cookout, discuss with your family and friends about the worries you may have. Let them know the triggers your child may present and how to best handle the situation. If everyone is on the same page, this will lessen your worries and provide you with extra support if you made need it.
Tip #2 – Talk with local law enforcement and safety officials
Introduce your child to the local officials, allowing them the opportunity to meet familiar faces who will be on duty for the holiday celebrations. This will not only allow the officials to understand your child’s needs but will also help your child know they are in a safe space while enjoying the fireworks from home. Provide them with your contact information, along with any important information regarding your child, so they have it ready in hand to take a proactive approach for the night’s activities in the case of elopement.
Tip #3 – Provide your child with information regarding the night’s events
Have a discussion with your child prior to celebrating. Allow them the opportunity to process what will occur and provide them with different options they may see as comforting. Fireworks are a time for celebration, so providing your child with that information ahead of time will give them a chance to understand what will be going on. If your child enjoys doing a special activity such as reading books, playing with toys or even listening to videos, make sure you have those options readily available ahead of time. Another proactive approach would be to purchase noise cancelling headphones in case there are loud noises or bangs that they may hear inside of the home as well. Ensure your child understands that they will be safe and in good hands, along with coming up with a secondary plan just in case.
Tip #4 – Come up with a secondary game plan
Loud noises can be intimidating for anyone! Come up with a plan ahead of time for the scenario of needing to change the scenery. Providing your child with noise cancelling headphones can help with the noise challenges they may have. After talking with family and friends, give them notice ahead of time that you may need to alter your child’s scenery throughout the night. This secondary plan will allow you the chance to stay on top of the situation and prepare ahead for the day’s/night’s events.
Tip #5 – Embrace the fun
Educate your child on why this day is a celebration! You can prepare them with excitement, along with potential videos of what the fireworks may look like. If your child enjoys eating ice cream, listening to music or even playing with toys, incorporate in the night’s events to help ease their worries. This day is fun for most, so prepare, have fun and relax!