Top tips for an autism-friendly Bonfire Night
Bonfire Night is celebrated on 5th November. It all dates back to the early 16th century when Guy Fawkes tried but failed to blow up the Parliament. That is why some call it Guy Fawkes night. Around this time of year lots of people celebrate with loud fireworks. But all the noise and spectacle can be very hard for some autistic people to cope with. Here I’ve put together some tips for children and young people and their parents that might make things easier.
Preparation is key
As the big night approaches, it is wise to start planning and prepare ahead of time. If you’re going to an outdoor Bonfire Night event, work out where the best place to position yourselves will be and how you’ll be able to get to a quieter space if you need it. Bring along stim toys or anything else you might need for a situation that might get overwhelming - and finally, remember to wrap up warm!
Wear ear defenders
Ear defenders are a handy product for any autistic person to have, as they protect from direct noise and block out all surrounding noise. Some autistic people use ear defenders all the time as they are very sensitive to noise. Bonfire Night can be very nerve-wracking when there are sounds of fireworks going on constantly that are uncontrollable. Ear defenders are very easy to find and some are very cheap.
Remember firework safety
Bonfire Night is one of the times of the year when accidents are more prevalent. Making sure everyone understands firework safety will make sure the night goes smoothly. There are pamphlets available online that explain the ins and outs of firework safety. For example, young children may want to get very close and touch the bonfire. Find a way to explain the dangers in a way that is comfortable to them. Be aware of sparklers as well, and always wear gloves. If your child does not like the texture of gloves, there are autism-friendly gloves online.
Watch a virtual firework show… or get crafty!
For those who don’t enjoy outdoor fireworks display, there are other options to enjoy the fun without leaving the home. Virtual fireworks play out a simulation of fireworks and they often come on a CD-rom or a DVD. If not, there is Youtube! Or why not get crafty and make your own fireworks scenes at home, using materials like glitter paper or metallic pens.
About the author
Solmaz is Ambitious about Autism's Marketing and Communications Intern. She loves writing, and also has interests in music, technology and beauty products.