AARC Tip of the Month | September 2018
Pre-Teaching Skills for Halloween

It’s time for fall! For many families, this means gearing up for Halloween. Halloween can be overwhelming for some children, however, there are things you can do to support your child in having a fun and autism-friendly holiday.

In October 2014, our Tip of the Month outlined some general recommendations for Halloween (check it out here) . In this Tip of the Month, we're focusing on pre-teaching. Pre-teaching skills can promote independence, self-advocacy, and help develop communication and social skills. Here are a few ways to pre-teach some of the skills needed for Halloween and trick-or-treating:

  • Social narratives are a great way to prep your child for a new experience, and they are also a fantastic tool for teaching specific social skills that your child may be able to practice in this situation. For some ideas about writing a social story for your child, check out Carol Gray's Social Stories or some of the social story books in the SESA Library! Here are some examples of Halloween-specific social stories.

  • Making a map of the neighborhood can be a great way to teach geographical and directional skills. It can also help your child orient themselves in the neighborhood and give them support on what to expect in their Halloween activities.
  • Use video modeling or peer modeling to teach trick-or-treating. It's great to practice or role-play with a peer or sibling! If peers/siblings go with your child on Halloween, they can provide both a task model and a model for appropriate social skills. Make sure the peer is modeling the behaviors or actions that you want to see!
  • Task analysis is a great way to break down the steps of trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving, cookie-baking or other Halloween activities to make it easier for your child to participate and be successful. For more information, check out the session on task analysis from our Online Autism Conference in March, 2018!

  • Visual supports (maps, task analysis, social cue reminders, etc.) provide concrete reminders for your child in situations that may create stress or be overwhelming. If your child uses a PECS system to communicate, practice using that system when role-playing. If your child does not yet use verbal language or struggles to use it in new situations, you can provide a card that they can share when trick-or-treating (example).
If you’re in the Anchorage area, you can put these skills to practice at the Arc of Anchorage’s Annual Trunk-or-Treat on September 29th from 5-8pm! We'll be there handing out treats!
Food sensitivities and allergies can be a bummer on Halloween. The Teal Pumpkin Project by FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) encourages households to provide non-candy treats for trick-or-treaters. Learn more about how to find participating homes in your neighborhood, or how to participate in your own home at their website .
Books of the Month:
The books of the month are available in the Special Education Service Agency (SESA) Library. Search for books on the   SESA website , or contact the librarian, Anne Freitag, at   afreitag@sesa.org   or 907-334-1301 

Electronic books may be accessed from anywhere in the state. If you've used our ebooks before,   go to the login  page here.  If you haven't, please contact Anne so she can set up a username and password for you.   Learn more about ebooks here .
Explore Your Community [kit]
Attainment Co., c2009
ISBN: 9781578616855
Description: Kit includes student books, teacher’s guide, DVD and CD. Curriculum is designed for adolescents and adults with developmental disabilities who read at a second grade level or below. Stresses essential skills for successful independent living. Lessons cover transportation, shopping, dining, banking, and recreation. Includes many pictures. While it doesn’t teach maps or directions, it does discuss appropriate behavior while out in the community.
Jake's First Halloween: "Color, cut, paste and read" book
Written and illustrated by: Jean M. Slater
Slater Software, c1995.
Description: Interactive book kit has instructions (with activities, reading levels, vocabulary lists, communication board), booklet describing the principles and philosophies of interactive books, and an interactive book that can be colored, read and manipulated by the student to demonstrate comprehension of sequencing, problem solving, etc. This title can be tied to fall and Halloween.
My Social Story Book
Edited by: Carol Gray and Abbie Leigh White
Illustrated by: Sean McAndrew
ISBN: 1853029505
Description: Takes autistic children step by step through such activities as using the toilet, brushing their teeth, and wearing a safety belt in the car.
The New Social Story Book
By: Carol Gray
10th anniversary ed., rev. and expanded
Future Horizons, c2010
ISBN: 9781935274056
Description: Book plus a CD with printable stories. Includes over 150 of the most requested social stories, guidelines and a learning module.
Alaska Autism Resource Center | 866-301-7372 | aarc@sesa.org | www.AlaskaARC.org