Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence day anxiety?

I love the 4th of July! I love dressing up in red, white, and blue.
Popsicles dripping off the chins of children, the smell of burgers on the grill. The warm sun on your shoulders. And most of all- the fireworks :)

My love of the this day, has been one I have chosen to pass on to my kids. We have had to adapt to their needs and tone down this day and all of its excitement because of their needs.

Most children on the spectrum have a hard time with this day. The noises, the crowds, the chaos, and just the simple fact that it is even more out of their normal routine. It brings out unnecessary anxiety and meltdowns. Sensory overload.

We generally get together with a few people. Not typically  a large group. We have always made it small, in comparison to those around us. We have always avoided the large public gathering places to sit and watch the spectacular fireworks display. We choose to keep ours at home, small and contained. I want it to be fun, and easy. Anything that invites anxiety or that leads to meltdowns and sensory overloads is not fun for anyone. 

This year we were invited to celebrate with some neighbors. I'm excited for the social interaction, we love this family and they understand our boys. As we prepare for this day, we are learning that this is a big production. A trailer stacked full of fireworks that will last for several hours. Barbecuing all day and lots of fun. The majority of the neighborhood joining in and all their relatives. 
With the need to adapt to this years changes, I will teach our boys that life will throw potentially challenging moments their way occasionally. I am trying to teach them the skills they will need  as they grow older, when I won't always be there to help them adjust or prepare or to help them recognize and handle an anxiety driven situation. 
While, I will continue to explain the Fourth's events and what to expect, I am also packing plenty of Lavendar, Serenity and Wild Orange Essential Oils. All with a calming effect, I feel confident that with a couple of scheduled breaks, head phones standing by, and some Wild Orange applied over their hearts, we will have another first. A first time to experience an all day social event thats packed full of excitement and sensory enriched things, and that we will be ok. 
It's a potluck style BBQ, so we are bringing foods I know the boys will eat. And since my 6 year old is a sensory seeker, and fearless.. We will be watching him closely for the fireworks portion. We intend to avoid any accidents and burns but I will ready the essential oil first aid kit just in case. 
So from our Family to yours, have a fun, safe, and anxiety free day!