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Halloween tips for kids with Autism

Posted at 9:49 AM, Oct 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-29 12:22:24-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Halloween is a fun time of year for a lot of kids, but can trigger sensory overload for those with Autism.

We talked toEasterseals Michigan Certified Autism Specialist and Pediatric Occupational Therapist, Jennifer Westerhuis, for some tips before this year's festivities.

Jennifer also explained why Halloween can be a stressful time for kids across the Autism spectrum.

There's a lot of change in our routines, schedules and parties at school and it can be hard for kids to adjust. Jennifer says kids with Autism may have a hard time straying from their typical day to day routines and need time to prepare. Things like costumes and face paint may trigger added sensory overload and may take some practice to get used to as well.

Jennifer says to take the time to go over rules and expectations. She explained there are some different social guidelines we follow during Halloween time. We go to stranger's houses, ask for candy, and go out at night in the neighborhood. So, things we typically don't do from day to day.

She says kids can try on their Halloween costumes or walk the trick-or-treat route in advance.

People handing out candy could display blue pumpkin buckets to show they are mindful of those with sensory issues. Jennifer said some kids may disclose they have Autism or display a badge or sign letting neighbors know as they approach.

Kids may not be open to sharing that information, but Jennifer says people can put a sign on their door saying they are welcoming of all skill levels.

You can learn more about Autism by clicking here.