Have you ever thought about an Autism-Friendly Easter?
With Easter fast approaching, and children on half-term we are all making plans; from Easter egg hunts, visiting the Easter bunny to making Easter bonnets. For Children with Autism, this time of year can be extremely overwhelming. Holidays come with so many changes which can send a child with Autism into sensory overload. Of course we want to make amazing memories with our children, by following these simple tips can help!
Tip #1 - Plan Ahead
Routines are very important. It can be very hard to stick to routines during school holidays. Your child must be aware of what is going to happen and when. Try talking to your child about your Easter plans as much in advance as possible. This will allow your child to build a 'mental map' of what is going to happen. Trips to the Easter bunny will need to be explained in detail before the actual event. Children with Autism are more accepting to things that they know are coming.
You may have photos from last year to help them visualise.
Tip #2 - Social Stories
Social stories can help. Using social stories with your childs favourite action heros or characters can help you to explain things. For instance, Superman helping search for Easter eggs. This will help your child to become familiar with Easter.
Tip #3 - Don't plan too many activities
Holidays can already be overwhelming due to schedule changes, environmental changes, different foods, social gatherings and new activities. All of these things can send a child with Autism into sensory overload and trigger a meltdown.
Tip #4 - Create a safe-space
It is very important to create a safe space for your child to go to incase they become overwhelmed. Discuss this through with your child to ensure they know that it is their safe space and make sure they can access it. It is important to let your guests know or other people know that this is their safe space. Pop some toys, a weighted blanket or any other things you think will help your child cope.
This will help your child feel safe and feel like they are in control of the situation.
Tip #5 - Food replacements
Easter is a time full of chocolate. New and unfamiliar foods can be very overwhelming for a child on the spectrum. Different colours and different textures can be hard to process. Be patient. Allow them to smell, touch, see and taste the different foods. Pack your childs snacks and foods that they are familiar with just incase.
If you know what is on the menu prior to this, you can practice this at home to get your child familiar.
These simple tips can help make Easter fun for everyone.