Children Diagnosed with Special Needs Can Enjoy the fun and festivities of Halloween with the right costume.
(October _, 2012) Halloween is right around the corner. It is important to remember that this can be a scary time for young children as well as children with Sensory Processing Disorder SPD or other Autism Spectrum Disorders
Current statistics show that 1in 20 individuals have a condition known as Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). SPD is a neurological disorder which results from the brain’s inability to integrate certain information from the body’s 5 basic sensory systems. As a result, a child can be hypersensitive to certain stimuli (overly sensitive) or hyposensitive (under sensitive). For children that are overly sensitive to sensory stimuli, they may be frightened during this time of the year that celebrates the spooky, scary and things that go “bump in the night.” For children that are overly sensitive to sensory stimuli, they may be frightened of loud noises, unusual visual stimulation, certain textures, and movements.
According to medical experts SPD is not considered a qualifying characteristic for a diagnosis of Autism. But children with Autism are more often times challenged by this. Therefore, ensuring a child is comfortable in their Halloween costume is imperative. The tips on how to make a Sensory-Friendly Halloween Costume are as follows:
- Material matters: Many children with SPD are sensitive to “itchy” clothing textures. Therefore, avoiding anything starchy or polyester and sticking with a cotton costume in which you can remove the interior tags. Also, be sure the child is wearing comfortable shoes that they have worn previously. Uncomfortable feet will lead to a short-lived evening.
- Keep the head and skin clear: Since children with SPD tend to dislike certain textures on their skin or head, their Halloween costume should not include face paint, a mask, or any props on their head. Keeping their skin and head clear will help the child feel more comfortable in their costume.
- Consider the length: Some children with SPD appear to be clumsier than typical children. Therefore, ensure that their costume isn’t too long as to impede their ability to walk and run. The sleeves should also be an appropriate length so that their hands can move freely about.
For more tips on how to make a Sensory Friendly Halloween Costume, visit the blog site of Kelley Prince, President of Behavioral Consulting of Tampa Bay (BCOTB) at http://westchase.patch.com/blog_posts/how-to-create-a-sensory-friendly-halloween-costume.
About Behavioral Consulting of Tampa Bay (BCOTB)
Behavioral Consulting of Tampa Bay implements Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) with an emphasis on verbal behavior for children with autism and related disorders. Our skill acquisition programs are customized for each child’s learning needs and focus on teaching language and communication, self-help skills, compliance behavior and appropriate peer and social skills. BCOTB provides discreet trial teaching in addition to natural environment teaching, while using errorless learning techniques. To maintain the highest level of service, our Board Certified Behavior Analysts provide intensive training and daily supervision to our Behavior Therapists. BCOTB was named ‘Most Valuable Resource’ by international advocacy foundation Autism Speak and received the Autism Impact Award on behalf of the International Center for Autism Research and Education for its contributions to the autism community.