Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Surviving Fireworks with Sensory Processing Disorder

Happy Birthday Canada! Today is our country's birthday and we make a big deal of teaching the kids about their country.  For the last couple days we have been doing crafts related to the Canadian theme, learning about Canadian symbols, singing our National anthem, reading books about our Provinces and doing puzzles of Canadian maps.  We have also been preparing for the Canada Day Celebrations which includes fireworks.  Fireworks send terror through many of our children who suffer from Sensory Processing Disorder.

6 tips for Surviving Fireworks with Sensory Processing Disorder 

Prepare your child ahead of time.  Explain in detail what will be happening, how it will look and sound.  Show your child pictures and/or videos of firework displays - YouTube has lots to choose from.

Bring Ear Protection.  As the loud screeches and bangs frequently set off those with sensory issues provide them with good quality ear protection to decrease the intensity of the sound.

Bring a comfort item, weighted blanket or fidget toy.  If a weighted blanket is beneficial to your child bring it so they can curl up under the blanket while watching the fireworks.  If your child prefers, have them sit on your knee and apply deep pressure (bear hugs, massage, etc) as this can be comforting.  Also a fidget toy may help distract your child from the intensity of the noise, making watching the fireworks more enjoyable.

Watch from a secluded spot.  Quite often the crowds are a trigger for sensory challenged individuals, this trigger can be reduced by finding a secluded spot.  The other benefit of watching from a different location is that if your child struggles you won't be distracting the other viewers.  We scope out a location ahead of time so our children don't even realize that we are at a "different" location.  By watching from a different location we also have the option of watching from our vehicle which can be comforting for some children.

Snacks.  When all else fails and it looks like your child is nearing the end of their patience give them a snack.  Chewing or sucking on food can be calming and is a great distraction.  A snack may just buy you enough time to see the whole firework display.

Be positive!!! Your view will feed your child's behaviour, so be positive even when you think your child is out of ear shot.  Encourage your child and praise them for their effort.

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