All Hallows Eve with Catboy! trick or treating while on the spectrum

So, Halloween has come and gone, Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Halloween was a success, we took our boys Trick or Treating at the Mall this year. Somewhere more enclosed and somewhere we could just get back in the car and go home.  My oldest is on the spectrum, so Trick or Treating can be a bit worrisome. Why? Well, it can over whelm them so fast. The sounds, the costumes, the scary decor, all of those things can trigger things like meltdowns, over stimulation, and sensory overload. So, how can you take your child Trick or Treat when they are autistic? Easy, it is trial and error. Sorry to say, there is no magic answer. But here are a list of things we did to make his experience easier. And I hope this list will help you in future!

When you get your child’s diagnosis, you are filled with a lot of questions. Questions that are mostly around normal daily life. Holidays become a distant thought until they roll around. Causing a lot of us to be blind sighted by it. It happened to us, it can happen to you. It is normal. But you can do a few things to help your little one transition into the holidays!

Cat boy! It was G’s first year of picking his own costume! I was so proud of him!

First is TALK to your child about the holidays. Rather than sit and freak out silently about it, talk to them. Even non verbal autistic children understand more than what you think. They understand a lot and so it is important to talk to them about Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas or Hanukah. Talk to them about 4th of July and Easter. Not neccessarily the how it became, but what you and your family may do. Just understand, kids like ours tend to take things LITERALLY! So be wary. If you tell them they are seeing Santa on such and such day, remember they will know it and may get really irate when it doesn’t happen like you said. Typically, I tell my child of certain events the day of or before. Because sometimes he stays up all night in excitement. Which is normal for any child autistic or not. But, for Trick or Treating we talked about it for a month before. September, while browsing through Target’s Halloween decor, I would talk to him about trick or treating. We watched The Great pumpkin Charlie Brown to show him how it is done. And he picked out his costume. I got him excited for Halloween by finding things that he could watch and do that were up his ally as far as his interests. Like we watched a lot of Halloween Cooking shows on Youtube and we painted pumpkins that were paper mache. We baked Halloween Cupcakes and colored Halloween coloring pages. We talked about the holiday. And we had our traditional pumpkin carving party with family. We do it every year. Then we went Trick or Treating. We set up his expectations by explaining, he can treat as long as he wants but if he wants to leave he can. So we went to the mall. Somewhere he is familiar with, somewhere he felt safe.

That leads into my next point.

BAt baby. FIRST HALLOWEEN

Let them lead. Let them lead certain situations. Such as Trick or Treating, let them let you know when they are ready and they are ready to leave. Do not push it too much! Let them do what they do best, OBSERVE. Kids on the spectrum like to observe. They take it all in, then act. So, once they get an idea of what is happening, let them take the lead. Make sure they do not retreat too much, as then nothing is learned. But you know your child’s ques so take it as it goes.

Just because your child has autism does not mean they can not enjoy Halloween! or enjoy other Holidays!

Pack the essentials, like headphones for those sensitive to sounds. My son has sensory processing disorder and has hearing problems, where things are amplified! So, we brought headphones! We brought his water cup, and the stroller for two. Things that would make him comfy, as well as his fave sandals to wear from HUNTER.

These minor things made his experience so much more!

Bring those headphones!

He was so at ease with the headphones and his mommy holding his hand that he was able to get all the Trick or Treating in! He enjoyed himself! This year we went all over the 2nd level of the mall, maybe next year we will cover the whole mall.

Baby steps

Be mama or daddy bear, dragon, lion. Seriously, bring that side out if necessary. Sometimes, some adults need reminding that these are freaking kids and if your kids has special needs they need a firm glare or growl to show them not to mess with your kids. Do NOT with hold candy just because some can not say Trick or Treat! It is OK, if i say it for him. He can’t. Be mindful. And people over 40, seriously, go buy your own damned candy….nothing grinds my gears more than trick or treating adults who can obviously buy their own. (rant over) They were pushing kids out of the way….

When they are ready to leave, you leave. I know so many parents would be like Do not let your child dictate your experiences. Well, guess what we do when it comes to this stuff. Why? Our sanity and his.  They will melt down, and you will have a worse time. Do not push it, because that will leak into the next day and they will miss school. Just be mindful.

Do not give up! So this year didn’t go as planned for you and your special needs kid. Do not give up! Try again next year. My son has not been able to really trick or treat until this year. The years before he was A sick with flu or last year just done with the day. Our kids have therapy sessions through the week and get tired especially when they are in school too, so they may get tired. But do not give up on them! Keep trying! Do not force, but try.

Giving up, is something we can not do! But, by including them in Halloween activities and watching Hocus Pocus and Charlie Brown, makes memories and those memories will help them in the long run! You can still do all those fun things as a family!

So, there is my list or listish thing about how to make the best of your Halloween with your special needs babies. If you want me to do one for other holidays let me know and I will share my tricks to make the best of the holidays with littles like mine and maybe like yours.

Until then Just keep swimming.

Thanks for reading

Steph

 

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