Dr. Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D
Founding Editor, bSci21.org
Dr. Cathy Pratt, BCBA-D recently wrote an article for the Autism Society that provides several simple yet effective tips to ensure your 4th of July celebration is enjoyable for your child diagnosed with autism. They are as follows:
1) Social Stories or Visual Aids can help prepare your child for the party and the social situations likely to be encountered. Having pictures of the people who will attend can be a great way to familiarize your child to a potentially overwhelming event.
2) Earplugs or headphones are a simple way to attenuate the loudness of fireworks, and reduce the chances of a difficult situation.
3) Familiar Foods can be helpful if the event will have a lot of foods that your child has never experienced.
4) Home Items such as a preferred toy can bring quick relief if your child is overstimulated.
5) An Exit Strategy is invaluable in the event that your child simply cannot handle the situation due to loud fireworks, too many people, etc…
6) A Practice Run, such as a BBQ the week before, or simply role-playing different social situations, can go a long way to preventing a difficult situation and ensuring everyone enjoys the celebration.
7) A Watchful Eye is always advisable, particularly if your child has a fearless disposition. Be especially attentive around grills, pools, animals, and of course fireworks.
8) Communication is Key and must be appropriate to the verbal abilities of your child. Take extra steps to ensure your child knows how to communicate about likely stimuli at the celebration, such as food, people, and loud noises.
Be sure to check out the rest of Dr. Pratt’s article here and let us know how you are preparing for the 4th of July in the comments below! Also don’t forget to subscribe to bSci21 via email to receive the latest articles, and free monthly issues, directly to your inbox!