If your child has Autism, Asperger’s, ADHD or any type of sensory disorder, the Fourth of July can be overwhelming. These 5 tips from the pediatricians at Woodburn can help your child avoid a sensory overload this Independence Day.
1. Prepare for the Day
As much as you can, discuss in detail how the day will play out. By letting your child know what to expect, you can help them prepare themselves for whatever might occur. Go over everything from the fun activities that will be taking place to the types of noises they’ll encounter. You can even show them videos of fireworks with the sound on, gradually increasing the volume to help them get used to the sounds before the actual fireworks happen.
2. Assign Tasks
Kids with Autism respond well to structure. Assigning a small responsibility can help distract your child and make them feel more in control. Let them be in charge of a task they enjoy: taking photographs, handing out food, keeping a cooler full, comforting a pet, etc., and make sure they have everything they need to succeed.
3. Give Options
Remember, not all children with sensory problems will want to participate in every activity planned for the Fourth of July. Talk to your child and discuss safe alternatives for anything they’re uncomfortable experiencing. You might, for example, give them the option of watching the fireworks from a pool, from inside the house, or even going into a basement with headphones on to block out the noises. You can also let them make small choices like what to wear and where to sit so they feel in control of the situation.
4. Pack Sunglasses and Ear Plugs
If your child wants to experience Fourth of July fireworks but is worried about becoming overwhelmed, pack sunglasses, ear plugs, or headphones to dull some of the sights and sounds. You should also plan to bring any comforting items that might help them stay calm during a sensory overload.
5. Have a Quick Escape Route Ready
Discussing a quick escape route can help your child feel more comfortable, even if they don’t end up needing to use it. Let them know that it’s okay if they need to leave and discuss where you’ll go and what you’ll do if you do need to leave early.