Halloween can be a difficult time for parents of children with autism. Family members and friends might be unsure exactly how to celebrate around people who are somewhere on the spectrum. But a little prep goes a long way, says Easterseals Southern California.
The nonprofit provides various services and analysis to people with autism, and recently offered a series of tips to help ease the potential sensory overload that can come with the holiday.
Begin by fully explaining the holiday to the child, they recommend.
Let them know what will happen on those days through storytelling, and showing pictures. Show them possible decorations that may seem overwhelming if they encounter the decoration unprepared. And teach them how to trick-or-treat to help them feel more a part of the celebrations.
Encouraging the child to help with decorating their own home can also go a long way in making them comfortable with the decorations they will see while out trick-or-treating themselves.
Next, prepare dressing up before the big day. Some kids can be easily overwhelmed with putting on certain costumes, especially with masks on their face or head. The organization recommends taking time before trick-or-treating to help the child feel more comfortable in the costume by allowing them to wear it around the house first.
Plan a route with the child so they have a better idea what to expect. Easterseals says it can be beneficial to check the route on your own as well so you don’t come across any decorations that might be too much for the child to handle.
Lastly, even if you don’t have a family member with autism, please consider those who do, they say.
Talk with friends and neighbors who have a child with the condition and ask what you can do to make sure their Halloween experience if as joyful and fun as possible. It won’t do anything to lessen your fun, and it could mean the world to someone’s child to feel included and understood.