Tag Archives: Summer

7 tips to help kids with Autism prepare for Fireworks

fireworks

The Fourth of July is a day that often involves, fireworks, barbecues and, at least around here, lots of crowds. For families that have children with autism, everything about the holiday can be a recipe for a meltdown. These seven tips were compiled for families that would like to see the show together. The key is to know your child’s limits and have an escape plan in case he or she needs a break.

Prepare for the Show 

Letting your child know in advance what might happen in advance will give your child some sense of control and help reduce his level of anxiety. Talk about exactly what you will be doing: getting in the car, taking a picnic, eating, watching fireworks, walking back to the car, waiting in traffic and any other details you can think of. The more your child knows what to expect, the better he will be able to handle the situation.

Preview the Show

Sparklers may not have much sound, but they look like mini fireworks. You can also watch videos of fireworks displays online. Fireworks Blast-Off  is an app ($.99) that lets the user control the colors and size of fireworks on the screen. Programs like this are great at simulating actual sound but not at the intense level you would find at a real fireworks display but they can serve as a good introduction.

Watch from far away

Your best option may be a nearby parking lot, or the side of the road with the windows rolled up may provide a comfortable and safe distance for your kiddo to experience the show.

Have a solid Plan B

When you make the decision to try a live fireworks display, be prepared to leave if your child becomes overwhelmed. Despite the fact that you have spent time preparing your child and have a pair of headphones available, things may not work out as planned. Keep this in mind when parking the car so you can have an easy route out

Take comfort items

Be sure to pack items that help to calm your child, such as a weighted vest, blankets, snacks, iPad or fidget toy.

Create a Social Story

A social story may work to prepare your kiddo for any event that might be stressful throughout the evening. A great social story is up for free download here.

Headphones

If you haven’t already, invest in a good pair of noise canceling headphones or construction grade earplugs. You may be able to prepare your child for the crowds and change of surroundings, but they may be over stimulated by the noise! You can even play soothing or patriotic music through them.

Indy with Kids has laid out Fireworks in the Indianapolis Area here.

Fort Wayne area Firework displays are listed here.

Greater Boston area Fireworks are listed here.

Have fun!

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Go and Have Fun!

Summer is an exciting time filled with opportunities for fun and social opportunities. Though this is a fun time, the change in routine, unusual clothes, increased interaction, and new places may be stressful for children with an autism spectrum disorder. Bierman ABA Autism Center has provided some tips that may help ease anxiety and help with enjoyment of summer fun and travel.

Just like any vacation, the key to a great trip with a kid with autism is preparation. Here are some tips for the extra preparation your family may need to enjoy fun in the sun:

    If traveling to a new place, provide children with pictures before hand. If possible, arrange these pictures into a visual schedule. The internet is a great resource for this. While going through the pictures, tell your child what they may do, see, hear, or feel in the new place. Use words or more pictures to tell them what will happen before or after they visit the new place.

   • Sensory practice. Will your trip require sleeping in a different bed or other new sensory experiences? “Practice” these new senses at home before leaving. Switch beds with your child or have your child sleep on the couch. If headed to the beach, have your child play in a local sandbox or dip his feet in a bucket of water at home.

   • Wear new clothing or swimsuits before the trip. Try on any new or unusual clothing at home before the trip. Try them on for the first time while a child participates in one of his favorite activities.

    • Plan to take breaks. Bring some of a child’s favorite items on the trip. Think of a realistic time frame a child can participate in a vacation activity without taking a break. Use the child’s favorite items to motivate the children.

   • Earplugs. You never know what new sound may bother a child with autism. Earplugs can also be used as a “magic” barrier to help children feel safe and protected in a new environment.

    • Practice waiting in lines and other travel routines. Model the experience in your own home. The Transportation Security Association also has videos of all travel procedures available on their website.

   • Prepare an information card to give to guest services, flight attendants, or other personnel associated with your trip. Many travel and hospitality employees have special needs and disability training. This will staff know what extra considerations may help your family be successful. Image