4 Halloween Tips For Sensory Kids to help your child with Sensory Processing Disorder thrive during Halloween and manage the sensory overload that comes with it.
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It’s that time of year again. Pumpkins, apples, and candy fill the kitchen, and piles of recipes from We Know Stuff sits on my counter waiting to be explored. Fall is an amazing season. One thing I personally love about this time of year is there is so much to be thankful for. Having a daughter on the Autism Spectrum has truly broadened my mind – and that is a good thing. Along with that, she’s opened my eyes to how an ever-growing celebration makes this season difficult for many.
If you’ve read my work before, you know where I am headed. October has become increasingly filled with Halloween imagery, with signs of nature (leaves, haystacks and apple picking) falling further to the back. For those with Sensory Processing Disorder, this can be quite unwelcome. For those of us who are “visual,” it’s hard to explain how the haunting imagery our society continues to embrace leaves lasting imprints on our minds once the candy is eaten and plastic pumpkins are packed away for next year. If your child is easily bothered by sights and/or sounds, consider being especially patient during the month of October.
When my daughter was young, shopping at the grocery store was such a stretch due to the Halloween displays, I ended up having to shop in the evenings once my husband was home. In some stores, we could avoid certain seasonal aisles, but the sounds of the season would be too much to bear. It’s hard to explain if you or your child either embrace the holiday or do not have Sensory Processing concerns. However, if your child is becoming increasingly anxious, dig a little deeper and see if the sights and sounds of the season are the culprits, and make a plan from there.
So, what if our child is bothered, after all? Is there some compromise we can come up with to help him enjoy this time of year? Definitely! Here are a few ideas to consider if your child has sensory concerns.
HALLOWEEN TIPS FOR SENSORY KIDS
1.) Every kid on the Autism Spectrum has at least one Special Interest.
This is THE time of year to celebrate it to the hilt! Let him dress according to his interests. Make a jack-o-lantern using the same theme. Forgo the witches, zombies, and vampires and indulge him in his favorite mode of dress up! He will love it and it will help him enjoy the season a little bit more. BONUS TIP: You can use this as an opportunity to teach how to be tolerant of choices others make, just as he chose his way to celebrate the holiday.
2.) Pick a treat she can enjoy.
Even if allergies are not in the mix, aversions to certain textures may be. If all she likes are pretzels, there is no rule that says you can’t give them out to Trick-or-Treaters, is there?
3.) Consider avoiding Trick-or-Treating at houses that put Santa’s Elves to shame.
You know the ones I’m talking about – the ones who play music, have pop-up creatures when you walk past and tons of lights. If you have other children, it is ok to have them go to the door and allow your SPD kid to hold back a little. It’s one thing to push him to grow, and yet another to make him so uncomfortable he’ll never forget it.
4.) Have some play clay handy at home.
It works wonders for kids that may become anxious or stressed!
Keep in mind that if you have a Sensory Seeker, the opposite of #2 and #3 may work! Do you have any other tips to add? Let me know!
I’d love to hear how your holiday went!