Fourth of July is here and it got me thinking of the probability of many families who may have previously experienced the joys of watching fireworks and may now have to forego the tradition due to their child or family member’s sensitive hearing and auditory processing dysfunctions. The loud noise of explosions can cause outbursts that may include screaming, hitting, scratching, and more in our special needs kids and adults. Their inability to communicate and to understand how to deal with the sudden noises and bright flashing lights leads to maladaptive behaviors that affect all family members, but most importantly bringing undue stress to the child himself/ herself.
A girlfriend of my recently told me that her little boy, Ryan*, who has an ASD diagnosis, two years ago, to everyone’s dismay, was able to enjoy his first Fourth of July with close family and friends. How you may ask? They watched the fireworks on the beach! Beach fireworks apparently may provide a natural sound diffusion. My girlfriend told me that the noise was muffled by the water and was not a disturbance to Ryan’s hearing or auditory processing. He loved it. May be worth the try for your child who can’t handle the noise, it’s worth the effort but please remember every child is different.
[highlight]After hearing her story I researched some other tips to help your special needs child (or any child for that case) in handling fireworks:[/highlight]
• Try desensitization- watch fireworks online or try watching a video of fireworks
• On the Fourth try watching fireworks from very far away, then move closer little by little. Scout out the location prior to the Fourth.
• Keep your child rested and fed throughout the day. Tiredness and hunger will exasperate all sensory dysfunction.
• If the sudden bright bursts bother your child, try bringing along a pair of sunglasses to minimize the discomfort to the eyes.
• If the noise is a problem, fit your child with sound-blocking headphones or earplugs or stay a large distance away so the sound is minimized.
• Give your child an MP3 player with their music playing or use noise canceling “mouse ear” style to block sounds.
At the end, my advice is to have an escape plan. Your child’s comfort level can change at any moment. Today on the Fourth, wherever you and your family may be, make sure to park in a location that is easy to get to and easy to leave from. Hope this helps and have a safe and wonderful holiday!
Elite Nannies On Call- a specialized nanny agency with branches in Miami-Dade, Broward, and the Palm Beaches, announces their “Elite Care Specialists” Division. This division provides Full time, Part Time and/ or On Call childcare placement services with childcare specialists who are trained or specialized within the Special Needs population, specifically Autism and similar disorders.