Halloween is right around the corner! Most kids can’t wait to dress up in their costumes and make their way through the neighbourhood, but for children with sensory sensitivities like those associated with ADHD, Asperger Syndrome, and Sensory Processing Disorder, Halloween can be stressful. However, with some careful planning and preparation, children with sensory issues and other special needs can enjoy this exciting time of year as well!
- Schedules! Whether it’s a written schedule or one with pictures for younger children, your child will feel calmer and safer knowing what is coming up. Discuss the schedule regularly and provide information for each event. For example, let your child know which events will take place outside and which will be crowed or loud. This bit of extra preparation will help children with extra needs feel less anxious.
- Have a code word your child can use if they feel overwhelmed and need a break. This will provide an element of control for your child and an opportunity for you to discuss coping skills for activities which may be over stimulating for them.
- Children with sensory aversions to clothing or tactile issues should practice wearing their costume before the event. This will allow for itchy tags or scratchy fabric to be removed. Bring extra Halloween themed clothing ‘just in case’ to avoid a potential meltdown.
- If your child has Type 1 Diabetes, food aversions or sensitivities, offer to ‘buy’ their sweets from them. Parents can buy back the bulk of the sweets for a coin a piece or for a toy that they really want.