Monday, October 21, 2013

Autism Answer: Making Halloween Awesome for Autism!

Spooky and wild. Scary and different. Often seen as a pretty big challenge for those on the autism spectrum, Halloween can also be an excellent opportunity for playfully fun learning’s!! 

Global autism expert, speaker/performer, author and—most importantly my mom—Lynette Louise aka THE BRAIN BROAD offers some simple and surprising tips that will help your family, with or without autistic children, get the most out of this boo-tiful opportunity! Here are a few fun tips, unmasked: 

Imagination Appreciation: It’s often said that autistic kids have no imagination. Yet one won’t sleep without her clock pillow and another wants only to line up his trains and dinosaurs. What do we ‘imagine’ they are thinking? Halloween is a night for exploring and discovering who they want to be and what that looks like to them. With make-up and masks comes a chance to shape imagination. Teaching appropriate imaginative play is lurking…

Awareness in your Neighborhood: One of the ‘scary’ truths about autism is that often families avoid outings and teaching opportunities due to a lack of awareness and understanding in the world outside autism spectrum disorder. Halloween is an excellent time to introduce your quirky selves to the—let’s face it—curious neighbors. Autism awareness in your neighborhood can offer safety and friendship. The neighbors probably aren’t as scary as you think… and neither are you!

Social Skills: Whether your child is verbal, non-verbal, echolalic or only interested in calendar dates, door to door small talk (or if your child is more comfortable, handing out candy to visiting ghouls) is a once in a year opportunity to teach spooky social skills without too much pressure. Involved in parallel play there is no need for sophisticated interaction. Also, there is the immediate reward of candy!

RE: Candy and its negative effect on our kids, esp. those on a special diet. Lynette suggests that with a little creativity families can find fun ways to deal with this very real issue, but the bottom line is that experience and teaching opportunities very often outweigh the negative side effects of an evening with gluten and sugar.

You know your own children’s challenges and strengths. With these simple tips you can take advantage of this spooky night (and the days leading up to it) with intention and the important skill of fun learning! Together you and your family can take a step toward taking the "scary" out of autism! 


Hugs, smiles and love!!!!!

A Halloween Photo!
Two of my boys, two of my nieces
and my dad!