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Some tips about firecrackers and sound sensitivity in children with autism

Diwali is round the corner. The next few days will be filled with loud and explosive sounds of firecrackers. For children with autism, this is one of the most sensitive time of the year. Since most of them are sound sensitive, they get upset, angry and irritated with sounds of firecrackers. Here are some tips to ensure that your child is protected.

Children with autism are very sensitive to changes in their surroundings. Excessive light, loud sound, too many people and such things can become overwhelming for children on the autism spectrum disorder.

Some children are more sensitive to sounds than others and there is no fixed criteria about level or types of sounds.

Considering the festival season in the country, frequent use of firecrackers and loudspeakers is expected for a few months now.

While some kids may enjoy the sound and lights that come with firecrackers, others may get scared and anxious because of them.

Sound can be too much to bear for a small child. Adults should be responsible and try to reduce the menace of noise to make festivals inclusive for all - Sneha Kuryan Reddy, Autism parent

Here are a few things to consider and follow to help children with autism cope with the noises.

  1. It is important to understand the type of sensitivity that is affecting the child. There are different types of noise sensitivity levels and each can be treated accordingly.

  2. Do not force your children to go out and watch the firecrackers if they are scared. Be patient and understand their state of mind.

  3. Some kids find relief when headphones and earplugs are put over their ears. This helps to reduce the external sounds and the child feels calmer. You can also try and give them sunglasses to reduce the glare.

  4. Parents can try and create a quiet corner where the child can go when it is noisy around them. The child can feel safer and calmer at the spot.

  5. Parents can also try and use distractions if the child is getting nervous due to sounds and noises. Giving a book to the child for reading, coloring book, toys can be used to take away the attention of the child from noise.

  6. It is also advisable to help the child adapt to various sounds and disturbing noises through a slow process. This can be done by introducing the child to the noises that affect them. A little exposure can help them cope with the scary noises over time.

  7. If this is the first time that the child will experience firecrackers, you can show them some videos beforehand to prepare them.

  8. Talking to the child and explaining the cause of the noise can also help reduce the anxiety and nervousness. If the child is disturbed by sirens, you can explain how and why they are used. This can help the child understand the sounds.

Over time many parents say children get used to the noise levels. "Sound sensitivity had a huge impact on my son when he was young, with time he learned to cope with the surroundings and is now doing great", says Caroline Jega.

Since it is not possible to reduce the sounds and noises in the world around us, we can only find ways to help our children to become adapt and strong enough to face their anxieties.

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