July 4th can mean additional sensory challenges for children with special needs. Between the festive parades and fireworks that light up the night sky with a BOOM!, the day is sure to be a sensory overload. Children with sensory sensitivities need extra attention this Independence Day to ensure that they too can enjoy the many activities of the day.
Often the day starts early with a parade complete with crowds, marching bands, brightly colored floats and candy being thrown left and right. Next comes an all day barbecue, pool party or block party full of delicious smells and movement and laughter of family and friends. The day ends (usually past bedtime for most children) with a breathtaking fireworks display that overwhelms the senses of most who attend. This combination of events can spell disaster for children with special needs.
Whether your child struggles with a sensory processing disorder, Asperger syndrome (ASD), ADHD or PDD, the following are tips for helping your child enjoy the Fourth of July without a major meltdown:
- Pick and Choose: The Fourth of July holiday offers many activities that can be stressful for a sensory sensitive child. It's important to limit their sensory exposure by limiting the day to include one or two of your favorites.
- Limit the Junk Food: At Brain Balance™, we believe that proper diet and nutrition are critical elements to healthy childhood development. Children with special needs are often more affected by the sugar, glutens and artificial ingredients found in many of the red, white and blue colored delectables that fill the day. This often results in uncontrollable hyperactivity. Help your child avoid the meltdown by choosing healthier options like fruits and vegetables instead of candy and sugary desserts.
- Reduce Sensory Input: If you choose to attend the fireworks display with your sensory-sensitive child, you may consider bringing ear plugs or headphones to help reduce the volume of the sounds that accompany the big show. You may also consider picking a location that's not too crowded.
- Set Expectations: Let your child know how long the parade, party or fireworks will last, so they feel more in control. It's also important to provide them with a choice to opt-out if it becomes too much.
Want more tips for minimizing sensory overload? Check out this post!
Summer Blog Series
Enjoy and share our summer blog series! Be on the lookout for upcoming blog posts about meeting nutritional needs of kids on special diets and creating healthy habits for your whole family. In the meantime, check out our articles below with ideas, tips, and strategies to help special needs families have a successful summer!