(WYTV) — With Halloween a week away, you might be putting the finishing touches on your decorations, making a last-minute dash to get some candy, costumes and anything else you might need. One thing to think about is who you might see coming to your door.
“Lights, sound, different changes up in routine” are all things that Michael Latessa, the interim director of the Rich Center for Autism, says can trigger a child with sensory issues this Halloween. He says preparing your child ahead of time is key.
“Social stories, videos, practice routines, even just a talk explaining what’s going happen — whether it be a school party, family party or the trick-or-treat process in itself,” Latessa says.
And if things don’t go as planned that night, have a backup plan or bring something that can help calm your child down.
“Playing it by ear, and being patient and watching over your child and seeing where he’s at and being ready to take a break or do whatever’s necessary,” Latessa says.
Awareness is key. It’s important to know someone at your party might be on the spectrum and that it might take a lot just for that kid to ring your doorbell and say “Trick-or-treat!” They could also be non-verbal and say nothing at all.
“Just being able to adapt and have some understanding and compassion is key,” Latessa says.
Teaching your child who might not be on the spectrum to start with compassion is key, too.
“Even if they’re not corresponding with you or participating the way that you would like them to participate, just have some patience, and make sure you’re welcoming and invite them in, and make it a fun experience for all involved,” Latessa said.
And speaking of fun — Latessa says don’t let the possibility of things not going to plan stop you from going out
“Plan everything with a little bit of caution, and you kind of know what your child may or may not experience,” Latessa says. “You want to have some opportunities for them to explore especially things like Halloween.”
Latessa suggests going through things in advance — maybe just go to a few houses and have a plan before you celebrate.