Fourth of July celebrations are fun and exciting for most people, but not so much for parents with autistic children and individuals. Crowded public spaces, cracks and explosions of fireworks, and the sheer excitement in the air all spell disaster for those born with the disease.
Fortunately, there are ways to ease their unease and discomfort despite all the excitement in the air. Here are some tips:
Parents with Autistic Children Celebrate Fourth of July
1. Do some research
Get information regarding fireworks shows online. If you are going to arrive just before the start of the show, you will not have to wait for long. If you’re planning on making a day out of celebrating, you can prepare how much food and drinks (and other necessities) to bring.
2. Prepare for the crowds
Being in the middle of large crowds can be uncomfortable, especially because most of the people will try to get the best seats. If your autistic child does not do well in enclosed spaces or needs to take a lot of bathroom breaks, find a more accessible place with fewer people. This would mean you and your family will have to be farther away from the show, but fireworks can be viewed from the distance, so don’t think of this as a bad thing. Autistic children are usually sensitive to abrupt noises so being far from the crowds and the noise can be advantageous to you. Otherwise, bring earplugs to help muffle the noise.
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3. Talk to your children about the fireworks
Speaking of fireworks, prepare your child for what to expect before going to the show. This is because the noise from fireworks shows (especially close in vicinity) could be overwhelming for autistic children. If necessary, prepare them by watching videos of fireworks online so that they can have an inkling of an idea what to expect.
4. Bring other forms of entertainment
If your child has a comfort toy or blanket, make sure to bring it along with you during the show. This will help soothe or distract them during the show if the fireworks become too overwhelming. Games and activities can help them take their minds off the noise and it will be easier for you to look after them.
5. Plan for Safety
As it is with any other family going on an outing, there should be a safety plan in place. Have a buddy system and have identification cards handy. In especially crowded events like the Fourth of July firework shows, another tips for parents with autistic children is to have a GPS tracking system like Trackimo which can also come in handy in case you lose sight of one another in the midst of the crowd.
6. Have fun!
Whether your family is watching the Fourth of July fireworks at the event area, from afar, or miss it completely, just have fun. Fourth of July celebrations mean getting some family time so enjoy the togetherness. No matter what you’re doing, just enjoy the weekend away.