A Special Needs Halloween: Creating a Successful and Purposeful Holiday, Pt. 2

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Are you feeling more hopeful about Halloween after reading Part 1 of guest blogger Amy Stout’s series yesterday? Then today’s post will encourage you even more. Today, Amy gives ideas about how to make Halloween not only fun, but also purposeful. You may be wondering what that means. Read on to find out!

A Special Needs Halloween: Creating a Successful and Purposeful Holiday, Pt. 2

After receiving our daughter’s diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (PDD-NOS), we quickly realized that Halloween is a wonderful holiday for helping our daughter to practice the skills she is learning in a very effective, natural and appropriate way.

Strategies For A Purposeful Special Needs Halloween:

Manners and eye contact: Specifically saying “Thank You” and expressing appreciation for the gift of candy (and the compliments on her costume).   Before Kylie can leave a house with her candy, she must thank the person who gave it to her.  We prompt her to look at the person and then to say or sign “Thank You” – by the end of the evening, she is almost doing it on her own (very little prompting needed).

Taking turns: When there is a group of children gathering at a home, we have Kylie wait her turn.  This teaches her patience and being kind to our friends.

Greeting one another: When we approach or pass a child on the sidewalk, we prompt Kylie to greet them by saying “Hi, Friend”.

Boundaries: We allow Kylie a few treats during the evening but we limit them by using the “First/Then” method.  It might sound something like this: FIRST Smarties THEN lollypop  or FIRST Hershey’s kiss, THEN book. It sets the tone for an ending.

Safety: When she was an infant, we taught Kylie a little saying so that she would never “fight” being buckled into a car seat.  We said “Buckle up for Safety” and we gradually progressed to “Buckle up…” and Kylie would finish “For Safety”.  When we are out and about, we require Kylie to hold our hands.  We adapt the saying to “Hold hands… For Safety”.  This is just an accepted part of her routine.

Faith: We use the book The Pumpkin Gospel to put a faith base to the holiday of Halloween.  (we love the object lesson of pumpkin carving to teach that God can take away all of the yucky things in us and give us a light to shine for him).  Another good book is The Pumpkin Parable.

Time to Share Your Special Needs Halloween Tricks

Now that Amy’s shared the tricks she and Dan use to make Halloween successful for Kylie, it’s your turn. What tricks do you use to help your child? Please leave a comment below. To take a look at Kylie’s Halloween outfits from year to year, visit Amy’s blog at http://histreasuredprincess.blogspot.com/ . This child is absolutely adorable!

Part One

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Meet Jolene

Jolene Philo is a published author, speaker, wife, and mother of a son with special needs.

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