Asperger’s And The Fourth Of July. Holidays and special events can be challenging for people on the Autism Spectrum. Sensory issues are common where sights and sound can create anxiety and physical discomfort.
Asperger’s And The Fourth Of July
People with autism might have these sensitivities:
- Balance (vestibular)
- Awareness of body position and movement (proprioception)
- Awareness of internal body cues and sensations (interoception)
Fireworks, for example may be desired to watch but can create noise sensitivity as they tend to be loud. During the fourth of July the combination of fireworks and crowds intensifies the experience. People suffering from Sensory Processing Disorder may take an alternative to watching fireworks on TV or other streaming platforms rather than in person.
Fourth of July Holiday Tips for Neurodiverse Marriages: (courtesy of https://www.differentbrains.org/)
Prepare in advance
It’s important that your loved one with autism is aware of what he/she will experience, from the people they will be seeing to the food and beverages they may be consuming. This is best done no less than a couple of days in advance. Using social stories or visuals to prepare them may be effective.
Make things comfortable
Bring anything that would help them remain stress-free during the event. Something like a blanket, a favorite toy, or a favorite snack could be effective in providing a distraction from a potentially stressful environment.
Have a plan to deal with loud sounds
Fireworks can be very overwhelming, so bringing sound-canceling headphones or even covering their ears is the easiest way to help heal the senses for the time being.
Be sure to take breaks
Be aware of how they are feeling. Pay attention to their body language and expressions. It may also be wise to develop a signal when things get uncomfortable for them. Prepare an escape route and a safe place to go unwind in case things do take a turn for the worst.
Surrounding them with too many different things, like people they don’t usually see or food they don’t usually eat, may stress them out. As suggested earlier, prepare ahead and bring something that they like and are familiar with.
Keep an eye out
Not everyone with autism is sensitive to the same things. Some with “different brains” are considered fearless, and may be more fascinated with fireworks. Needless to say, be sure to keep from getting too close to any fireworks or fires.
Just have fun
Not everything you’ll encounter on the Fourth of July is avoidable, and you can’t spend every second of the evening worrying about what could happen. Once you have prepared beforehand and planned everything out, just be sure to take the evening as it goes and enjoy yourselves.
As I am married to an Asperger Husband, fourth of July crowds and loud noises are uncomfortable. Add social anxiety on top of that and the event can prove not fun for either myself or my husband. As a Neureodiverse Couples Counselor, I put strategies in place to manage sensory issues for such holidays. Past years we have stayed home and watched fireworks. This also helped keep my emotional support animal company as he is disturbed by the loud noise. This year we will be staying at a hotel that faces Sea World’s fireworks and celebrate enjoying what the general public will be experiencing.
Knowing what your options and expectations are is key in managing neurodiverse relationship issues.
For more information on Spectrum relationships contact me at (858) 735-1139 or at CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com