When your child has autism or another “special need,” every holiday presents a host of challenges. Here are I remember that are very common at Easter.
Photos with the Easter Bunny
Getting a photo with the Easter Bunny is a big thing in the US. The Easter Bunny is in large
shopping malls with lots of people moving around and lights and sounds – not an ideal environment for kids with sensory issues.
Finally, it is your turn and your child sees the Easter Bunny up close. He tries to run away because like Santa, the Easter Bunny can terrify young children. He doesn’t really look like a real bunny and is big and scary! Even if you manage to get the elusive photo with Mr Bunny, it is not a happy one!
Easter Egg Hunt
Most Easter egg hunts have informal rules to ensure fairness. Rules are great for most children with autism who love structure. They know how to follow rules. What they don’t understand is the “grey area” accompanying these rules. So if the rule is that the first person to spot the egg gets it, why do you have to give the egg to the younger child right behind you? If adults are not supposed to help, why is mom helping a toddler?
Everyone is in his or her best clothes for Mass on Easter Sunday. Nevertheless, trying to get your child, who lives in tee shirts and sweat pants, into a regular shirt and trousers is difficult.
Once your child has his Easter clothes on, the scratching and complaining starts. Easter clothes are not sensory friendly. So, you give up and go back to the tee-shirt and sweat pants.
For many families religious services area big part of Easter. However, bringing your special needs child to Easter Sunday services is another challenge. The challenge begins with the Easter outfits as discussed above. Then you face multiple sensory challenges when you get to your house of worship.
On Easter Sunday, you face with large, noisy crowds of people as you enter and leave your religious service. Once inside your child must contend with more noises, lights and smells. Then they are expected to sit still and stay quiet. And if they don’t, their families get rude stares or comments from strangers.
What have your Easter experiences been like?