AARC Tip of the Week: October 2014

Halloween is a holiday that can both attract and overwhelm children on the autism spectrum.  Although it is usually fun because children can dress up and eat lots and lots of candy, there are some aspects of Halloween that can be over-stimulating for a child with autism.  Here are a few pointers that can help make the Halloween holiday spooktacular for you and your family:

  • Use books and social stories to prepare your child for what they might see on Halloween.  Find books that explain why people get scared on Halloween, why kids trick-or-treat, and the appropriate manners when taking candy.
  • Give your child plenty of time to pick out a costume that you can both agree on.  Make sure the costume is appropriate for the sensory needs of your child. Some costumes fit tightly, while others have masks that may be too tight or too big for the child.
  • Scope out the neighborhood ahead of time.  Have a plan of action, map out where you will be trick-or-treating and share that with your child.
  • Set clear expectations so your child knows where you will be going as well as how long you plan on trick-or-treating.
  • Have your child practice wearing the costume.  Role-play the social interactions as much as possible.  Have the child practice trick-or-treating and the various social interactions that they might encounter at different neighborhood houses.
  • Consider having a peer model present for trick-or-treating.  Siblings or other neighborhood kids will be helpful in modeling appropriate Halloween behavior and social interactions.

Remember to have fun!!!


Book Suggestions:
These books have chapters on handling holidays, and are available in the SESA Library. You may search the library on the SESA website, or you may contact our Librarian, Anne Freitag, at afreitag@sesa.org or 907-334-1301

The Everything Parent's Guide to Children with Autism: A reassuring guide to know what to expect, find the help you need, and get through the day
By: Adelle Jameson Tilton
Adams Media, c2004.

While children with Asperger's are generally of average or above average intelligence, they experience challenges with social skills, communication, and coordination, among other issues. The Everything Parent's Guide to Children with Asperger's Syndrome is an informative resource that helps parents to recognize areas in which their child needs support. Filled with helpful hints and practical guidance, this authoritative work is designed to provide parents with the latest information on the best treatments and therapies available, education options, and ways to make life easier for parent and child on a day to day basis. Parents learn how to begin the process of seeking diagnosis, introduce their child to social settings, build positive relationships inside and outside the family unit, prepare their child for adolescence and adulthood.


Raising Martians - From Crash-Landing to Leaving Home: How to Help a Child with Asperger's Syndrome or High-Functioning Autism
By: Joshua Muggleton
Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2012. 

Provides tips and guidance for parents of children with Asperger syndrome and high functioning autism, based on the author's personal experiences with Asperger syndrome, and covering friendships and social situations; anxiety; sensory issues; school; bullying; and related topics.


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