As any parent of a child with autism knows, the loud noises created by crowds, and especially fireworks, can be traumatic for autistic children. As a result, Independence Day can be the most troubling holiday of the year.
There are ways to make the Fourth of July celebration enjoyable for autistic children. Here are some suggestions that may help.
In the days leading up to the Fourth of July:
- Show Them Fireworks: Pull up some fireworks videos on the internet. Gradually increase the volume so that the child becomes accustomed to the sound.
- Get Silent Fireworks: Sparklers are readily available at stores this time of year. Bring some home and light them in a familiar place to show the child there is no inherent danger.
- Get Familiar: If you plan on being in a certain spot to watch the fireworks, visit that spot with the child a few times in the days prior to the celebration to allow them to become comfortable with their surrounding.
After a little bit of preparation, there are some actions you can take the day of the celebration to help make the Fourth of July more enjoyable for an autistic child.
- Schedule Quiet Time: A fully day of partying and stimulation can heighten can autistic child's sensitivity, with the end-of-the-night fireworks pushing that child over the edge. Spend some quiet time with autistic children throughout the day to keep them from getting overly excited during the day.
- Have Headphones Ready: Get some large headphones capable of covering the child's ears and blocking outside noises. If the child starts having issues with the noise, play some calming, familiar music through those headphones. If inside, increase the volume on the television to drown out the fireworks.
- Ready Some Diversions: If the child begins to react negatively to the fireworks, be prepared to go inside and do something different. Bring a favorite toy or game to the party.
These steps may help an autistic child cope with, or even enjoy, an Independence Day fireworks display. However, there is no guarantee these actions will work, so be prepared to abandon the party or the fireworks to go somewhere that will calm the child.
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