Tips For an Autism Friendly 4th of July

With parades, BBQs, and lights filling up the sky, the 4th of July is, for many of us, a fun weekend holiday. Although shining, loud fireworks are generally fun for the whole family, they can be overwhelming for children with autism. The sensory overload might just be too much to handle and can create a complication in your Fourth of July plans. Not to worry, here are a few tips on how to help your child enjoy this Independence Day!

Plan Your Day Accordingly:

If you’re heading to the beach or park, arrive as early as possible that way by 2pm, you’ve had a day of fun and are ready to head home. If you’re planning on seeing fireworks, your child will need a break in the day. Get home early and let your child relax before heading back out.

Bring Your Own Entertainment (or BYOE):

If you are going to someone’s home for a barbecue, make sure you BYOE for your child – whether it’s a favorite toy, book or electronic device. Make sure you have something that will entertainment and/or comfort your child if needed.


Prepare Your Child:

If your child has never seen or heard fireworks before – show them a few pictures or Youtube videos so they know what to expect.

Consider Bringing:

a chair or blanket and a pair of noise canceling headphones. Most adults get impatient standing around waiting for something to happen. Kids with autism can be the same. Have a chair or blanket handy for them. A pair of headphones to minimize the sound can be helpful too.

Make a Big Deal:

Show your child that you are excited about the fireworks. Make a big deal – ooh and aah, point and squeal with delight! If your kids see you having fun, it may be fun for them too.

Watch From a Distance:

Drive someplace where you think you can have a good view of the fireworks – that way you can experience the 4th of July fun without the crowds and chaos.

And When in Doubt…Watch from the comfort of your own home:

Test the waters by watching the fireworks on television. Make some popcorn and snuggle on the sofa with your family.
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