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How to have an autism-friendly Fourth of July celebration

Opting to watch fireworks from a quiet viewing spot in the car can be an option for those looking to avoid big crowds.
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Posted at 9:19 AM, Jul 04, 2024

Fireworks are a holiday staple on the Fourth of July, but the loud explosions can cause sensory overload for those with autism, especially children.

Eileen Lamb, director of social media for Autism Speaks, says people with the condition don't have to avoid all of the festivities, rather they may want to be more intentional with how they celebrate.

"There's something called 'social story' that helps many autistic children," she explained. "Basically, you explain what the fireworks are, the barbecue, or whatever you're going to do."

Related Story: Fireworks sent thousands to the hospital last year

Lamb said it's all about being prepared. She recommends bringing a child's favorite items, like sensory toys, games and snacks, to the event. Noise-canceling headphones and sunglasses can also be helpful for those with autism.

Opting to watch fireworks from a quiet viewing spot in the car can also be an option for those looking to avoid big crowds.

"If that's still too much, you can do a viewing party at home with some fireworks on YouTube or something like that," she said.

Related Story: How did the Fourth of July become the fireworks holiday?

Most importantly, parents shouldn't feel guilty about missing those big celebrations if their child isn't going to enjoy them.

Click here for more tips to have an autism-friendly Fourth of July.