When you have a child with special needs, it may take a bit more than other parents to get the birthday party right. You want it to be fun for your child and their friends, but meltdown-free.
Although there are many hazards and pitfalls that go with big gatherings (like lots of noise, for one), it doesn’t have to be like that.
You can help your child have a memorable and trigger-free autism birthday party if you follow a few simple tips like these.
Choose a Familiar Location Your Child Enjoys
What is it your child enjoys doing together? If they’ve been to the Build-A-Bear Workshop, you could try having a party there. Or if bowling is their favorite, ask the bowling alley about their party packages.
When you choose a familiar space, your child will be more able to relax. Don’t plan too many party activities, either. If you relax and let the children lead, you won’t overwhelm them or force them to do anything uncomfortable.
If your son or daughter is too tense to try and sing “Happy Birthday” with everyone staring, then just skip it. They won’t miss it, even if you think it’s a little sad, but it will help them have a better time.
Try Sensory-Processing-Safe Activities
With challenges like sensory processing disorder, you have to judge whether something like an activity with slime or another strange-textured medium is a good idea. Some kids like to get messy and others get overloaded.
The same is true of loud and hectic situations, as birthday parties often are. When you have autism spectrum kids to care for, whether the birthday child or their guests, try to minimize the chaos as much as possible. And choose activities that are fun but lack the typical hubbub.
Fill Your Guest List with Understanding People
You probably have family members and other loved ones you have to invite, but when you consider the extras, like which of your child’s classmates and friends to invite, be very conscious of their attitude toward your child.
You want party attendees who will be understanding if your child doesn’t want to open presents in front of everyone. These are the type of people who will send birthday ecards that your child can enjoy later. They will encourage you and lend a hand where they can.
Be Smart About Treat Bags for an Autism Birthday Party
Check with parents about refreshments for their kids, if they’re autistic friends. Sugar can make kids go wild, and often has a more adverse reaction in children with special needs. Instead, offer them healthy options on a buffet, and try bite-size sweet treats at the end.
The same goes for the party favors. Try to include stickers, tattoos, pencils, and other non-food treats in the take-home bags. It won’t even occur to the kids that there was candy missing from the bag when they have fun alternatives like those.
If you’re gearing up to throw an autism birthday party this season, take a deep breath. You can do it. You know your child best, and the hard work is worth it for them to have a special day to celebrate.
Remember that the goal is for your child to feel appreciated, not for you to comply with traditional party standards. When you relax and let them have fun, they will have a great time.
Did you enjoy this post? Check back soon for more helpful tips.