Happy 4th Of July!
Beautiful Minds Center knows that the 4th of July can be an exciting time and it can also be a scary time for children that have been diagnosed with autism. Along with family fun, games, barbecues and picnics, come fireworks, loud noises, and large crowds. It is important to prepare children on the spectrum for what to expect this upcoming 4th of July weekend. By following the tips below you can ensure to have a fun, stress free and happy 4th of July.
- Make sure your child on the spectrum knows what to expect: With some simple preparation you can decrease anxiety and stress on this wonderful day that brings family and friends together in celebration of our glorious nation. Be sure to talk to your child about what happens on the 4thof July. What food to expect, what noises to expect, the fact that there will be crowds, etc. Show them pictures or videos of firework displays. We recommend easing them into it. First with the volume off, then the volume low and finally (when they are ready for it), in full volume, so that they are not surprised when they hear/see them live. If you child still has a hard time with the “BOOM” of the fireworks, be sure to take ear plugs or earphones with you to make their evening more enjoyable.
- Remind them that the celebration is meant to be FUN! – Get your child on the spectrum excited by showing them how excited you are about the celebration. Describe the many activities that you will be doing on that day, from barbequing, to spending time with family and friends, to going to see a firework show…whatever it is that you have planned, make sure they know what to expect. It is also a good idea to bring games, toys, snacks, and other activities with you in case your child gets antsy.
- Define their boundaries – Children who have been diagnosed with autism, may have a hard time dealing with large crowds, so it is important to set up boundaries. Some simple and easy ways to do this is to try to sit some distance from other people. Placing a blanket, chair, or towel on the ground will allow your child to claim their space and get comfortable in it. Make sure that your child’s safety is always a priority; remind them of your set of rules about running, leaving without telling a parent, and talking to strangers.
- Be aware of your child’s needs and when it’s time for a break – Whether your child, who has been diagnosed with autism, can ask you for a break, or not, be mindful of them and the possibility of experiencing sensory overload. Pay attention to your child’s body language and try providing them with a special signal, word, or image that lets you know it’s time to get away from the stimulation. By paying attention to your child’s needs you have the opportunity to prevent a meltdown.
Beautiful Minds Center wants to wish you all a very happy, safe, and stress free Independence Day weekend, filled with family, friends and happy children!