Have you ever wondered how you can have an autism friendly Easter?
It’s finally spring time flowers are blooming, the days are getting longer, and the weather is finally starting to get nice.
With Easter right around the corner we are all making plans for Easter egg hunts, visiting the Easter bunny, and making up Easter baskets.
For children with autism holidays can be extremely overwhelming.
Holidays Present Unique Challenges For Kids With Autism
Holidays come with so many changes including schedule changes, environmental changes, different foods, social gatherings, and new activities.
All of these things can send a child with autism into sensory overload which can trigger them into meltdowns.
As a parent this thought can be so overwhelming when trying to plan accordingly.
We want to make special memories with our children that we can remember for years to come.
That can seem impossible sometimes, but I assure you with some careful planning and a whole lot of patience it can be done.
So how can you have an autism friendly Easter?
Let’s spring into it!
Autism Presents Challenges For The Entire Family
Autism comes with so many challenges for not only the family who may be having trouble understanding autism, but for your child too.
Holidays for many of us are very overwhelming, but for a child with autism this can be a trigger to sensory overload.
It’s important with any holiday that we carefully plan and even prepare our child for the big day.
I have laid out a plan that will help guide you into a great Easter holiday that everyone is sure to enjoy.
Talking About The Plan
As parents it can be so easy for us to make the plans and expect our children to just go along with it.
This however can be challenging for an autistic child.
Children on the spectrum are more accepting to things they know are coming.
Talking about the events you have planned will help them become more familiar with the big day.
You may talk about the food that will be there, people who might be attending, and the activities that will take place.
If you have pictures from the year before this may help them get a visual idea of what to expect.
This may be your first time doing an event for the Easter holiday, so you can look up pictures online to help create a visual for your child.
Making a visual schedule for the day will also help out.
If you have a younger child you may want to use pictures.
For an older child you can create a written schedule for them to follow.
Also talking about the food that will be served can help relieve some unnecessary anxiety.
Talking about the events, and creating a visual can help your family have an autism friendly Easter.
Practice Your Autism Friendly Easter
A great way to have an autism friendly Easter is by creating a visual for your child of the events that might happen.
This can help you practice the events that will happen and help them become more comfortable.
Practicing things such as the set up when eating, playing the music that may play at the event, or even some of the games and other activities will help your child learn what to expect.
If you plan to have a fancy setting, have dinner a couple times before the party with a tablecloth, candles, or music.
Maybe you are planning an outdoor event and want to grill out.
Grill out for dinner before the big day so your child can learn about eating outside.
Any games or other planned activities can be practiced before the big day too.
You can hide filled eggs around the house or yard and practice finding them.
If you are planning to celebrate away from home, see if you can take your child to the place and let them explore so they can become similar with the surroundings.
It can be extremely overwhelming for these little ones to be in a new place.
Anything you can do to help your child become more familiar with the events will help keep them calm because they will have an idea of what to expect.
Creating A Safe Place
Even if you practice and get your child familiar with the big day, we all know that we can’t plan for the unexpected.
Whether you are celebrating at home or somewhere else it is very important to create a safe place for your child to go if they become overwhelmed.
Discuss this safe place with your child so they know where it is and make sure they have access to the space.
Find a place that is by itself and is quiet.
I would make it clear that this spot is a safe place and is off limits to other guests.
In the safe place you can provide some toys, weighted blanket, or other coping tools for your child.
Giving your child a place to go can help them feel safe and like they have some control in a situation they may not feel like they have much control in.
If you are attending an Easter party someone else is throwing, you may want to talk to them ahead of time and come up with a plan.
What’s On The Menu
New and unfamiliar food can be very overwhelming to a child with Autism.
Even the colors can be a lot for them to process.
Try to add foods that your child is familiar with to the menu.
You can also try to get your child familiar with some of the foods they aren’t familiar with prior to the Easter party.
Allow them to smell, touch, see, and taste the different foods at home.
If you are going to someone else’s party, I would suggest packing some foods and drinks your child likes and taking them with you, especially if your child is a picky eater.
When there are things you know your child likes offering them will give them some comfort.
The Easter Egg Hunt
Easter egg hunts are a huge part of Easter celebrations everywhere.
However, for a child with autism this can be overwhelming because its not something they are use to doing everyday.
Practicing the egg hunt to help build fine motor skills before the big day can help make this something that is familiar.
However, you can also add sensory friendly items inside the eggs.
Check out these great ideas for items to put inside the eggs.
Adding in some sensory toys can help your child stay calm.
Allow them to open the eggs as they hunt – if they need too – so they can feel the items in the eggs.
I would also come up with a system to ensure each child can collect an equal amount of eggs.
Decorations For An Autism Friendly Easter
Decorations can be scary for a child with autism because it is something new.
Changing the environment suddenly could send them into sensory overload and cause a meltdown.
When you start to decorate do it little by little, and have your child help you decorate or better yet, have them help you make decorations such as this cute DIY Easter Bunny Door Decor.
Also if you notice that a certain decoration seems to upset your child remove it.
Having decorations that cause your child to become overwhelmed will only get worse when the guests arrive.
The key is to make sure your child feels safe and comfortable in their surroundings.
Letting them touch the decorations as well as allowing them to make some of the Easter Decorations may help them adjust to them.
Planning Sensory Friendly Activities
Come up with some activities that are sensory based so your child can still get their sensory needs during the party.
Some ideas are finger painting, a shaving cream table, play dough table, or a glowing water beads Easter egg sensory bin.
There are so many great ideas out there try out some of these ideas.
Prepping The Guest
Making sure your guests understand that this is a very difficult change for your child is very important.
Though most may not completely understand, you need to set guidelines so that your Easter celebration can go smoothly.
Let them know how they can help you prepare or even keep things calm while the event is happening.
Making everyone aware ahead of time can really make a big difference for you and your guests.
Set good firm boundaries on things that are welcomed and not welcomed ahead of time so everyone knows.
Planning An Exit Strategy
We all want to hope for the best when we plan to attend events with our loved ones.
However, the safest way to do this is knowing when to go and how to get out quickly.
Come up with an easy way to leave without making a huge scene.
“Hey we had a great time with everyone. Thanks for the invite. We have to go now,” will work just fine.
Know where your things are so you can pack them quickly.
I would try to park close to the exit, and if that isn’t possible come up with a plan to get the car as close as possible as quickly as possible if need be.
We all know when our child has had enough things can go from good to bad very quickly.
Make sure to stay calm during your exit so that you don’t make things worse.
Letting your family and friends know ahead of time may help out too so they can help you get out quickly without too much upset.
When you are planning your Easter party remember you may not be able to do everything on your own.
Be willing to ask your guests to help bring things.
Make a list of food and give each person coming something off the list to bring.
Make a list of materials such as plates, silverware, napkins, and other needed things for them to bring.
Asking for help can help give you more time to prepare your child for the big event.
Remember having a child with autism isn’t easy, so accepting help will go a long ways.
With these steps you can have an autism friendly Easter that everyone can enjoy!
Remember to plan, and talk to your child ahead of time to prepare them for what they can expect.
If you feel overwhelmed accept help!
Putting your child’s needs first will help things go more smoothly for the main event.
Share in the comments some things you do for your child when you are attending different events.
Feel free to comment with questions also.
Make sure to share so your friends can also learn some great ways to help their children.