Fall holidays and festivities can be so much fun: sweet treats, dress-up and staying up past bedtime are what most kids dream of. However, some children struggle with all these changes, especially if sensory sensitivities are present.
Sensory sensitivities are when some people’s central nervous systems are extra sensitive, and their minds process things like touch, social interactions and feelings in a very detailed way. This can be a common occurrence in kids who have autism or other diagnoses.
If your child has sensory sensitivities, consider these ways to be supportive:
Preparation and communication
Communicate with your child about upcoming events, detailing what to expect. Having a wall calendar or white board with the dates visible is a useful tool. Talking to party hosts about the child’s sensitivities can lead to adjustments in factors like lighting and music. Find a quiet space to allow for your child to regulate themselves and have a break from the merriment.
Attire trial run
For festivities where participants are expected to dress up, a test run may be helpful. Have your child wear their outfit or costume for an evening at home a week ahead of time. Are the shoes too snug? Are the ruffles too itchy? This will give you time to make adjustments so everything feels comfortable at the event.
There is no shame in the headphone game! Noise-canceling headphones are a great tool for those who struggle with loud or multiple noises occurring at once, such as the clanging of dishes and noisy conversations of a Thanksgiving dinner. Add some decor to make the headphones match the outfit.
It helps to have calm, quiet time before each event, and afterwards have a routine at home that allows your child to decompress. Planning ahead for kids with super senses makes all the difference for their enjoyment of fall fun.
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