Autism Resources

Sensory Friendly Independence Day

BlueSprig June 28, 2021

Have you and your family decided how you will celebrate Independence Day? The thought of large crowds or loud fireworks may seem overwhelming or unappealing to those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) but there are many other ways to enjoy the fourth of July. BlueSprig has created some tips for celebrating this Independence Day in a sensory-friendly way with your loved ones.

Below are a few tips if you plan on staying in this year:

  • Watch Pre-recorded Fireworks: Instead of watching fireworks outside, which can be loud and overstimulating, opt for a video of fireworks instead! We recommend watching the video before and finding one that will be a good fit to not heighten anxiety. There are several remarkable fireworks videos on YouTube to help you celebrate Independence Day. You can probably find a fireworks show from your town as well! Click here for an example!
  • Backyard Low-Noise/Noiseless fireworks: If you plan to buy your own fireworks, there are a variety of fireworks that are seemingly noiseless or have very low noise. This is a way to have all the excitement from the bright colors of the fireworks without the loud unexpected noises that come with traditional fireworks.
  • Family Movie Night: If you want to skip the traditional festivities altogether and avoid loud outside noise from fireworks and other distractions, consider having a calm night with the family by making it a movie night. Grab some hot cocoa, popcorn or snack of choice, a weighted blanket, and zone in on your family’s favorite movie!
  • Set Expectations for the Noise of Fireworks: When it is bedtime for your child or loved one, talk with them and let them know that loud noises may occur due to fireworks to set expectations and ensure safety. To help with this, try using a noise-canceling machine in their bedroom or use noise-canceling headphones.

If you and your family decide to go out and enjoy the festivities this year, below are a few helpful tips:

  • Talk with your child or loved one and prepare them for the environment that you all will be in. This will help them to get a sense of what to expect.
  • In the event of sensory overload, make sure to identify a quiet space. This could be going to the car, going inside the house, or somewhere near that will help your loved one feel calm. When out in large gatherings, make sure to have an exit strategy in place in case of a sensory overload or heightened anxiety.
  • You may want to bring noise-canceling headphones with you so that the fireworks or noise from large crowds are not overwhelming to your loved one.
  • If your loved one enjoys anxiety calming toys to help with sensory overload, make sure to bring their favorite sensory-friendly items along.

If you are looking for a few creative crafts to celebrate July 4th, click this link to check out our Pinterest board that has several suggestions ranging from coloring pages to cooking crafts to festive decorations!

By using these tips and preparing to support your loved one with ASD to know what to expect this upcoming Independence Day, you can help lessen their anxiety and make this a fun, inclusive celebration for all. We hope you and your family have a wonderful fourth of July!