Tips on Celebrating Halloween with Your Autistic Child
All children enjoy Halloween, they get to dress up in fun costumes and eat more candy than they’ve had all year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention out of all children in the United States, on average 1 in 110 has an Autism Spectrum Disorder. And although autistic children enjoy Halloween, celebrating the holiday may come with increased difficulties. If you are the parent of an autistic child wondering how you will celebrate Halloween in the smoothest manner consider these spooktacular tips from Autism Speaks:
- Select costumes with sensory issues in mind. Avoid rough materials, full mask and face paint. Try to dress your child as comfortably as possible.
- Prepare your child for the big event. Read stories about Halloween prior to that day and role play.
- Opt for a route that is familiar to your child since familiarity is crucial to children on the spectrum.
- Offer to provide some neighbors with special treats to give to your child if he/she is on a restricted diet.
- Know your child’s limits. Steer clear of meltdowns by keeping trick or treating to a reasonable amount of time.
- Teach your child “Halloween” protocol: Rehearse at home: Ring bell, hold out bag, say “trick or treat” and “thank you.”
- Avoid trick or treating at homes decorated with flashing lights or loud sounds that may trigger sensory reactions.
- Create a timetable and plan. Inform your child what time you’ll leave, the route you’ll take, the time you’ll be back. Children on the spectrum have greater comfort when they know what to expect.
- Understand and accept if your child wants to “quit” — even if it’s after only visiting one house, or if he/she wants to “ditch” the costume.
- Limit the treats your child consumes — let him/her know in advance how many treats are allowed per day.
- Assist your child in preparing appropriate responses to well meaning questions (i.e. What are you supposed to be?) or how to decline an unwanted treat.
- Remember to enjoy the fun spirit of Halloween. Dress yourself in costume, take pictures, treasure the special time spent with your child. - Dr. Keri Chiappino, chiropractic neurologist
Have a safe and happy Halloween from everyone here at Light Innovations!
Image from Life123.