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Independence Day Fireworks and Autism: 

July 4th Fireworks can prove to be a challenging occasion for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, especially those with Sensory Processing Disorders. The loud noises, crowded surroundings and bright lights can become overwhelming for children (and parents!) In this blog, you will read about strategies and tips to help navigate July 4th Fireworks with your child with ASD.  

1. Prepare your child with Autism for the Fireworks

By adopting the mindset that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of protection,” it becomes evident that preparing yourself and your child for the occasion is of utmost importance. This will ensure a safe and enjoyable fireworks experience for your entire family. 

 a. Sensory Desensitization:

The first step is to work on gradually exposing your child to the bright lights and sounds of fireworks to help them desensitize. Start off with showing them video clips and play audio recordings and slowly begin to heighten the exposure to simulate the fireworks experience.

 b. Visual Schedule:

Moreover, Create a visual schedule for your child. By providing a visual support/ schedule, this will help them feel prepared and understand the predicted sequence of events. A visual schedule can help alleviate unnecessary anxiety.

c. social stories:

In order to prepare your child for the experience, create a social story describing what fireworks look and sound like. The story should include what the crowd watching looks like and feels and discuss the expected and unexpected behaviors for this situation. It is important to use simple language to ensure that your child can properly visualize the event. Using visual aids can be helpful as well.


2. Set yourself up for success: Find a Good Place to View the Fireworks.

It is important to choose a suitable viewing location to facilitate a happy and calm fireworks display. Here are some points to keep in mind.  

a. Avoid Crowded Viewing Spots:

Seek Spacious Serenity. Choose parks and open fields as opposed to crowded viewing areas. This will ensure that your child has adequate personal space and will minimize sensory distractions.

b. Use Noise Canceling Headphones:

This will help reduce the impact of sudden noises.

c. Seek an Indoor Alternative:

Additionally, if your child is sensitive to outdoors sounds and lights, consider exploring indoor venues. This will offer a controlled environment with a less overwhelming setting ensuring a calmer Fourth of July celebration.  

3. Comfort Items and Strategies for a calm fireworks display

Furthermore, explore the idea of bringing along comfort items and using strategies to help manage sensory sensitivities. Below are some suggestions. 

a. Familiar objects:

Encourage your child to bring along a comforting item such as a soft blanket, teddy bear or favorite toy. These familiar objects give a sense of security and grounding during the fireworks display.

b. Sunglasses-

Bring along sunglasses to reduce the bright lights.

c. Practice calming techniques-

Practice deep breathing exercises, hand squeezers or fidget spinners.

 4. Exit Strategy:

 Even with careful planning, your child might feel overwhelmed by the fireworks. It is crucial to have an exit strategy in place. Keep in mind the following considerations.  

a. Have a safe space:

Locate a nearby quiet and calm area nearby, like a parked car or designated area away from the crowd, where you can take your child if they become overwhelmed. 

b. Talk to Event Organizers:  

Reach out to the people organizing the event in advance and share your child’s needs. By doing so, they can have information about quiet areas or possible accommodations to help make the experience more comfortable for your child. 


 The fourth of July is a special time for families, including those with children with ASD. By implementing these tips and being prepared, you can help your child  with autism enjoy the fireworks while minimizing sensory overload. Furthermore, remember, that every child is unique and it is important to customize these strategies to suit your child’s individual needs. We at Achievements ABA Therapy are committed to supporting families and helping children with Autism thrive in every aspect of their lives. Wishing you a safe and delightful Fourth of July Celebration!