Ways To Make Parties Enjoyable For Children With Autism
by Ashley Lengyel
On 04 November, 2022
Socializing, get togethers and parties is a time of sharing, love, bonding and forging new ties. It’s an activity we all should look forward to with enthusiasm. However, for families of children on the Autism spectrum it poses challenges. Going to a party or a social event for such families requires preparation. This preparation is important to prepare a child for what happens in such events. This is so that they don’t face a sensory overload that leads to unwanted displays of emotion and so on. With planning, families can enjoy social events to the satisfaction of all concerned.
Parties, barbeques, picnics, events, get togethers are fun. They are also important for children with ASD as it enables them to build bonds, make new friends, and learn about communication & social skills firsthand. Here are some ways to Make Parties Enjoyable for Children with Autism:
· Social story - A social story about the party or a visual support is a great place to start the preparation. Parents can focus on the story or visual support on specific tasks such as how to participate in activities by taking turns its okay if someone else wins a game/activity. Parents can connect with the hosts and get a download on the sequence of events and then construct a social story for the child to follow.
· Role plays – Role plays are another great way to get kids to get comfortable with situations. The family and the child can role play some of the activities that happen in such social gatherings – such as arriving at the venue, greeting people, participating in activities and so on.
· Videos – Videos are available to help parents teach their kids various social skills. You could buy them to teach your child or get creative. Make your own.
· Prepare for any eventuality – You know your child the best. So, it’s always good to go to any event prepared for any unforeseen eventuality. It could mean escorting the child to a quiet room / place, take their favorite toys to calm down or even go for a short walk away from the bustle & din of the party. Always keep a kit ready and take it with you for such eventualities.
· Duration of the party – It can get overwhelming for children if the event or the party goes on and on. Therefore, keep your participation short and sweet. Spend a hour or two depending on the situation and the child’s comfort level. At the first sign of distress, bid adieu and head home.
ABA therapy is a good way to teach your child vital communication and social skills. This prepares them to be active members of society, be independent, have a social support structure and live a fulfilling life. Let’s make social events and parties’ fun for all by preparing the child as much as we can. Putting the zing back into parties is not a mammoth task, it just requires patience, humor and support.