Keeping the Fun in Halloween for your Child with Special Needs

Halloween.

In theory, it’s a fun day filled with free candy, sugar highs, and running around your neighborhood with your child and his friends. Well, if you’re a parent of a child with special needs, you know that’s not always the case.
 
Halloween can be tricky for many kids, especially kids with special needs. For some of our kids, going to a stranger’s home and ringing their doorbell is overwhelming. Then, let’s factor in that ringing the doorbell doesn’t mean that someone will come to the door, or that they will come to the door with the type of candy they like. How about that barking dog? Or the scents that come out to greet you once the door is open.  

It’s a lot to process and a lot to make sense of while you’re trying to keep up or hold on to the parts to your costume and keep your candy in hand.  In an effort to setting the stage, let’s talk about some ways you can prepare your child for the BIG day: 
 
Create a Social Story for Your Child 
Before writing the story, sit down with your child and ask him what they remember from the year before. What did they enjoy? What did they dislike? Factor these variables into your story so that there is the expectation that some houses will have the lights on, but no one will answer the door, or that a dog will bark, etc.  In fact, turn it into a game. Keep a log of how many houses had a barking dog and how many houses didn’t answer the door. 
 
Keep the Costume Comfortable 
Sometimes, store bought costumes can be uncomfortable, itchy, stiff, and smelly. Find a costume that has some homemade pieces to it – an old sweatshirt, comfortable socks, their own winter gloves.  Don’t want to wear a mask, how about face paint? If face paint is too uncomfortable, use women’s make up. 
 
Not sure how it will all feel on the day of? Wear it a few times before Halloween to get used to it so that it ultimately feels like another pair of pajamas.  
 
Create a Plan 
Still not sure of how your costume is going to hold up? Not sure which route to take? Take a walk around your neighborhood with your child in his/her costume and walk up different neighbor’s driveway so they can go through the motions and be super familiar.  You and your child may even want to make a plan for how many houses you want to hit before it’s time to go home and count the loot! 
 
For younger children, set a time limit and place them in a wagon that you can pull. Little legs fatigue faster which can trigger melt downs as well. 
 
Eat and Go Before You Go 
Instead of trick or treating on an empty stomach, have a fun meal so that your child is not filling up on sugar and then crashing hard. Have stable blood sugar will also help your child to tolerate the walking around. Hit the bathroom before you make your way out to the streets. Nothing stinks more than having to go to the bathroom and having to leave everyone behind to empty out.  
 
In the end, practice special Halloween mindfulness.  Soak up the moment and let go of the expectations of how Halloween should be.  Look for the gleam in your child’s eye even if they can only tolerate going to two homes.  Take a moment to be present – feel the chill of the air, the laughter swirling around, the pitter patter of feet to the door before the ding-dong, the shouts of Trick or Treat and finally the sweet taste of a favorite candy that you will indulge on! 
Wishing you and your family a safe and Happy Halloween! 
 
 
For free social stories, check out these resources: 
https://adayinourshoes.com/social-stories-autism-halloween/ 
 
Safety tips for all: https://www.safekids.org/tip/halloween-safety-tips 
For children with selective mutism, Dr. Shipon-Blum from the Smart Center shares her tips for you: 
http://shop.selectivemutismcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Tips-for-a-Successful-Halloween-for-Children-with-Selective-Mutism-2015.mp4
by Michelle Molle-Krowiak, LCSW, Ed.S

Lavender slime recipe

Our blog today is from our ADHD In Home Coach, Chrissy Sunberg, M.Ed., AAC.

She has provided us with an easy to make recipe for Lavender Slime, and a video to help you create this wonderful sensory tool!  Slime gives a child something to fidget with when they are disregulated, restless, or anxious.  You may even want to make this with your child and create a quiet corner in your house where your child can go to calm their bodies and minds.  Some parents create a quiet corner using a tent or bean bag, with a few sensory calming tools.

How to Use Sensory Slime:
Sensory Play – squeeze it, poke it & stretch it and have it meet some of your child’s tactile and sensory needs.

What can kids learn from making lavender slime?
As you know, lavender is an essential oil that has powerful properties of tranquility, promoting calmness,  eliminating nervous tension, relieving pain, disinfecting the scalp and skin, enhancing blood circulation, and treating respiratory problems.

Also, your child will gain a tremendous amount of sensory input as they mix these ingredients and watch the transformation of combing multiple ingredients that ultimately turn into this very cool slime. It will also be a time of bonding for you and your child when you take turns adding the ingredients, mixing, and creating together.

Enjoy!

Lavender Slime Recipe 
½ TBSP of Baking Soda
1 ½ TBSP of Contact Lens Solution
6 fl. Oz. Elmer’s Clear Glue or any glue will do
3 drops of lavender essential oil
Glitter and sequins
1.  Find a bowl, cup or plate to mix your slime.
2. Pour 6 oz. of the glue into the bowl, cup or plate.
3. Add ½ tbsp. of Baking Soda & mix.
4. Add 1 tbsp. of Contact Lens Solution.
5.Add 3 drops of essential oil to the glue mixture.
6. Mix until slime forms and begins to get harder to mix.
7. Add a pinch of glitter or sequins.
8.Take the slime out and begin kneading with both of your hands.
9. If needed, add ¼ TBSP Contact Lens Solution to make the slime less sticky.

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