World Autism Awareness Day is on Saturday 2nd April. Every April Autism Speaks celebrates World Autism Month and this year marks the 15th annual World Autism Awareness Day. If you’re looking to help raise awareness of autism and have a child’s party coming up, why not make it autism-friendly to help educate those who attend? Or perhaps you have a child with autism and are looking for ways to celebrate their birthday gently? Birthdays are meant to be fun, memorable occasions but for children with autism or sensory issues, they can, unfortunately, be stressful, overwhelming and upsetting. We’ve listed several ways to make parties enjoyable for children with autism below.

Keep it small and short

Not only is this gentler on the purse strings, it’s also beneficial to kids with autism. For young children, you can simply invite a few family members that your child has a close bond with. As they get older, perhaps a few school friends too. Keeping the guest list small ensures that the party will be on the quieter side which is better for children with autism who can sometimes find loud noises frightening. It’s also a good idea to keep the running time brief. Try to plan the party around your child’s attention span and energy levels so that you get the best out of them.

Leave opening presents for at home

Opening gifts in front of a crowd can be tough for some kids – especially those with sensory issues or autism. Therefore, we recommend that you open the presents after the party at home. Or you can perhaps ask not to receive gifts and ask for cash instead.

Plan some autism-friendly activities

Games with strict rules and loud noises are probably best avoided. Plan the day around what your child likes doing most.

Here are some autism-friendly suggestions:

  • Montessori play set-up (this includes an open space with simple, limited toys at the children’s eye level)
  • Lego
  • Painting
  • Play-Doh

Serve the cake quietly

Many children with autism dislike being the centre of attention and loud noises so the traditional singing of Happy Birthday with a cake is probably best avoided. Instead, serve the cake in bowls or on paper plates and allow the children to get messy and explore the texture.

These are just some of the ways you can make parties enjoyable for children with autism. At Captain Fantastic, we like to ensure all children experience fun and joy on their birthday. That’s why we are looking to create a party specifically for Children on the Spectrum or with sensory issues. If you would be interested to hear about these when they are developed, please register your interest here – Autism Friendly Party Interest.

Remember that autism in children differs for every individual. It’s something that’s unique and allows the child to stand out in a positive way. This quote by Dr. Seuss @DrSeuss sums it up: “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”. We hope you enjoy organising your autism-friendly children’s party and that it helps to spread awareness of World Autism Day. For more information on this international day, head over to Autism Speaks where there are plenty of ways that supporters can participate in spreading awareness.

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