I came across this excellent article I wanted to share with my readers: “How to Take the Trick Out of Trick or Treat” Solutions for the Halloween Blues for our Special Needs Kids” by Esther Hess, Ph.D. I had the opportunity to take a class with Dr. Hess and she is truly and expert in the field of working with kids on the autism spectrum.
In her article, she talks about the fragile nervous systems of kids on the autism spectrum, where they have difficulty processing and interpreting environmental stimuli as well as stimuli within such as sensory integration. Autistic kids work best in a predictable climate, knowing what is coming next in their day. Now throw in Halloween, that by it’s very nature is supposed to surprise and scare you with costumes of disguise and decorated homes of strangers. Dr. Hess suggests writing a social story to share with your child about what he or she might experience on Halloween, tips for selecting and “trying out” their costume, selecting healthy treats, and planning a trick or treat route that doesn’t involve a whole neighborhood of strangers!
Dr. Hess says, “If you add to the mix, a particular occasion like Halloween, where the whole point of the experience is to relish the unexpected, dress up as scary ghoulish characters, knock on strangers’ doors and ingest enormous amounts of sugared candy, all these elements combine to unnerve the already fragile neurological balance of our children on the spectrum.”
The link to Dr.Hess’ complete article with some great tips on how to handle Halloween with a special needs children is here.