TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Halloween is fast approaching and, for most kids, it’s a fun time filled with activities, dressing up and, of course, trick-or-treating.
But for children with autism and other sensory disorders, Halloween can be overwhelming, and even scary, according to Elizabeth Rivera from Hopebridge Autism Therapy Centers in Terre Haute, Indiana.
“A lot of our kiddos are a mix of both. Some of them like a lot of the sensory stuff. They like the lots and they like a lot of pressure, and, some would rather not,” Rivera said. “They would rather be in their little bubble and need the quiet.”
For this reason, Hopebridge Autism Therapy Centers published a Halloween Guide for Kids with Autism. In the guide, experts offer tips for parents:
Costume choices can make a big difference
When it comes to your child’s costume, the fabric can make kids with autism or other sensory disorders uncomfortable.
“A lot of costumes have a very specific material,” Rivera said. “So, if you know your kiddo may not like that, give it a try, but also be able to have that flexibility; maybe they want pajamas with those special characters or whatever on them.”
Keep an open mind
“Don’t force something just because it’s what everyone else is doing. Be flexible and prepared to adjust,” experts at Hopebridge Center say.
“Maybe walk up and down the street but don’t go door to door this year,” they said. “Or even stay home and have your own Halloween ‘party,’ with movies, treats and a Halloween egg hunt, or hand out candy to other kids instead.”
Above all, it’s best to plan with intent, but let go of any expectations for Halloween, especially the first time around.
“Having fun is most important. It may take time — even years — but think about it as working towards your child’s future of fun the next couple of years,” the Hopebridge Center said.