Fourth of July
Celebrations and holidays gatherings can be very difficult for families with autism. Below are some tried-and-true tips to help make this Fourth of July safe and enjoyable for everyone.
Wandering and accidents can happen at any time. However, being in an unfamiliar environment can increase the risk. Constant vigilance is a must - especially since communication issues can make it difficult (or impossible) for your child to tell someone that they are lost and how to find you.
- Designate one responsible adult to keep eyes on your child at all times. Give that adult a time frame. When their time frame is up, they can pass the responsibility to another responsible adult. Sharing this important responsibility assures your child always has eyes on them and gives everyone some time to relax.
- Make sure your child always has some form of identification on them:
- Order shoe tags, bracelets, or necklace tags that have identifying information on them from places like Road ID or Lauren’s Hope.
- If needed, write your name(s) and cell phone number(s) on paper and put in the pockets of every piece of clothing your child is wearing – pants, shirt, jacket, shoes, socks, etc.
- Consider temporary tattoos or even writing your contact information somewhere on your child’s body with a pen.
- If your child is ready for a cell phone, a pre-programmed phone with only 911 and your cell number can be comforting and helpful.
- If in a crowded area, keep your hands on your child at all times or use the “bookend” approach where one adult is on each side of them.
- On the day of your event, use your cell phone to take a photo of your child to ensure you have a recent picture that captures what they are wearing that day in case they get lost.
- Learn more about Keeping Your Kids with ASD Safe here.
Be especially vigilant if you will be around water!
- Elopement and wandering increases the risk of drowning.
- Drowning is a leading cause of death among individuals with autism.
- In the general population, 9 out of every 10 child drowning deaths occur when a parent is supervising but is not paying attention.
- Learn more about Water Safety here.
Tips to Make Fireworks More Enjoyable
- Give your child an escape. Set aside a private room/area for your child to safely relax when the crowd and noise become overwhelming.
- Plan for sensory needs including noise blocking headphones, weighted blankets/vests, comfort items, etc.
- Headphones with or without favorite music can make all the difference when it comes to enjoying a fireworks display.
- If needed, enjoy the fireworks from your car.
- If fireworks are legal in your area, download and print this sign to hang on your door.
Tips for Children on Special Diets
At TACA, we know that many kids with autism improve on a gluten and casein free diet. Here are some tips on how to stay on your GFCF diet, even on the Fourth of July.
- If you are invited to a house where you cannot control the menu, make sure you bring all snacks, meal, and dessert foods for your child.
- Don’t let your child eat foods of which you are unfamiliar.
- Remind family members to make sure your child with allergies is only being fed their food, not all the party food.
- Consider letting your child sit down to a plate full of their favorite gluten and casein free foods for the main meal. This may not be the time to expose your child to new foods. Your child will be happy and that will set the tone for a successful family gathering.
- Be prepared for possible food infractions. See TACA’s webpage for more information on this topic.
We hope you find these Fourth of July tips helpful for your family. Have a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July. Happy Independence Day!