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How to have an Autism friendly birthday party.

How to have an autism friendly birthday party when your child has been diagnosed with ASD.

Birthday parties can be a tough event if your child has been diagnosed with Autism. Whichever end of the spectrum they fall into, birthday parties are just one of the events that hasn’t yet adapted to neuro-divergent children.

In this blog, I want to give you my best tips so your child can still enjoy their party or attend as a guest.

Why am I qualified to write about Autism friendly birthday parties?

My youngest was diagnosed as having ASD (autism spectrum disorder) when he was 7 as he struggles with social interactions and anxiety.

I also have experience working with children on the spectrum and I took a course in Understanding Autism back in 2022 so I could adapt my entertainment packages to include everyone.

How to have an Autism friendly birthday party:

1 – Let your children’s entertainer know if there are any children attending, (including the birthday child) that have additional needs so that they can adapt their show accordingly. Adapting may include Makaton signing, keeping the volume down or minimise overwhelming features such as jumps and scares in magic shows.

2 – Keep noise levels to a minimum – choose a venue that isn’t too large otherwise the echo bounces off the walls and it becomes overwhelming. Keep music to a low volume and ask parents to keep their chatting to a whisper or away from the main act. Noise cancelling headphones are also a must have to help reduce noise levels for those with sensory overload.

3 – Use social stories – a social story is a series of images or pictures that tell a story to your child so they know what to expect at the party. It can depict things such as order of entertainment, when food will be served, what happens with the birthday cake or if they can expect balloons to pop. This will help to reduce any anxieties they may feel beforehand.

4 – Have a calming zone – whether you’re hosting the party or going as a guest, a calming area will help children to take time out from the party if they feel over stimulated or overwhelmed. This could be as simple as having a separate room to go in or a child’s tent area with sensory toys inside. Sensory toys include bubbles, stress balls or fidget spinners.

5 – Consider having an autism friendly activity – this depends on the activity your child would prefer such as sensory friendly parties. This could be arts and crafts, sand art, play dough, slime making etc.

Of course, it does depend on your child’s needs as to how you adapt your party but if in doubt, a party with all their classmates may not be the choice for you.

It may be worth taking them to a party with their class friends just to see how they cope in that environment but don’t forget to prep them beforehand and take any props that will help in case of meltdowns.

There is still a long way to go in making sure parties are inclusive for everyone but we have to start somewhere and I hope this blog has sparked your imagination to help neuro-divergent children.

To book me for your child’s next party, get in touch today.

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