July 4th celebrations often involve crowds, unfamiliar places, flashing images and loud noises. These four factors are not autism friendly. Some families skip the celebrations because of these factors. With a little planning, you can have an enjoyable Independence Day even if your child has autism. The tips listed below will give you some guidance.
Decide what event your family wants to attend. Remember that unfamiliar places and people cause anxiety in some children with autism so check out the location with your child beforehand. Let your child explore the area and become familiar with it.
If you are going to be joining other friends or family to celebrate the fourth, introduce your child to these people ahead of the event. If you cannot do it in person, use photos. Tell your child a little bit about each person so the person won’t seem so strange when he sees her again.
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If your child is a fussy eater, bring along food that he will eat.
Before the event, contact any people you will be joining. Introduce your child to them so they will know how to interact with your child. Explain any problems with behavior, social skills and communication skills your child may exhibit at the event.
If you are going to a noisy event like fireworks or a concert, Lauren Elder of Autism Speaks suggests bringing headphones your child can use to block out noise.
If you think your child can’t handle the crowds and noise watch the fireworks from a distance.
When you get to your celebration, find a good spot for meeting up. Tell your child to go to this location if you are separated. This reassurance will relieve some of your child’s stress.
Decide on a place your child can go if he needs a break. The place could be your car or a pop up tent you bring with you. Brain Balance Centers and the Washington Post have more information on making the 4th of July autism friendly.
This article was originally published by me on Examiner.com.