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Celebrating Halloween with an Autistic Child

Published by Marisa Coen

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Halloween Autistic Style

Celebrating Halloween with your autistic child can be a wonderful experience. The key to enjoying Halloween with an autistic child is planning. If your child does not like people and public places then trick or treating can be a daunting task. Arek’s first time trick or treating he would not go to the door and he could not talk so it was kind of difficult. If your autistic child does not like strangers and is non verbal then it is best to develop a Halloween plan involving activities at home and other comfortable environments for your child.

If your child likes to play games than a simple alteration of his favorite game to a Halloween themed version is sure to be a hit. Often his favorite TV characters will have a DVD with a Halloween themed episode, purchasing this will certainly make your autistic child happy. Get some art and craft supplies with a Halloween theme and help your child assemble them.

Arek is now 5 and last year he was able to speak a bit and he quickly picked up the magic candy phrase “trick or treat”. If it is your Child’s first time then rehearsing the trick or treating experience is a must. Simply have a family member answer the door and have your child say the magic words to receive his treat. You will be amazed at how quickly they learn when candy is involved. If your child does not talk yet then do not be ashamed to tell people at the door that they have autism and are not able to talk. Some people may look crossed at you but most will understand. Also do tests with your child around the costumes to make sure they are not frightened. You will know if your child is frightened pretty quickly, if possible test a variety of costumes. Arek is not frightened of what is considered frightening costumes such as horror themed stuff. A person dressed as a big tomato will cause the boy serious stress and kill the rest of the evening.

Make your Halloween plan as thorough as possible by planning out your trick or treating route. If your autistic child is skittish around large crowds or loud noises then pick a quiet neighborhood to trick or treat in. If you have other children then make plans for them to have a back up chaperon for their trick or treating if your autistic child needs to go home early. It is important to include your Child’s siblings in the planning so they will know what to expect.

If your child has a favorite character then choose a costume of that character. If your child does not like stuff on his head then remember to get costumes that do not have a mask. Arek will not wear a mask or hat for that matter. The important thing to enjoying Halloween with your autistic child is to prepare and tailor your plans to his preferences. Be prepared for a sudden change and have a backup plan. Arek loves fire engines so when we seen the local fire dept. was giving out candy from the fire engine downtown we were so excited. Arek would not get within 100 feet of the fire truck. He fought and tried to run so fast I thought I was going to break his arm grabbing hold of him. Needless to say we had to leave the downtown area and retreat to trick or treating on the quieter side streets.

Let’s cure Autism – 5 years experience with Autistic child.



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