Festin’ Fun this Fall - Touchstone

Festin’ Fun this Fall

The fall festival season is upon us in Southeast Louisiana from the Louisiana Sugar Cane Festival in New Iberia to Beignet Fest in New Orleans, there is plenty to enjoy. For some families though public events with large crowds can be a challenge. If you want to get out and experience the tastes and sounds of festivals and other activities but feel nervous about how your loved one on the spectrum may experience the event, consider the following:

• Plan ahead: Create a social story using images of festivals you find online and talk to your child ahead of time about what to expect at the event. Give your child some choices on what to do, what to bring, or what to eat. You can even make a schedule of pictures of the activities for you both to follow along with to “see” what comes next.

Gear up: Pack a favorite toy or book to provide your child with comfort or distraction in an unfamiliar setting. If loud noise is uncomfortable for your child, bring headphones. If your child is more comfortable with a fidget toy or special stuffed animal, bring it along.

Be flexible: Think about a plan B and park where you can leave early, if necessary. Sometimes it just does not work out and that is okay. If you are unable to leave, look for a quiet place for you to retreat with your child to relax and take a breather.

Bring your patience, too: Be prepared to realistically manage your expectations when heading out to the large events. Crowds, long lines, and waiting can be trying for anyone. A shortened enjoyable experience is still a success!

Another pro tip is to look for activities that are accommodating to your family in the first place. Many attractions now have sensory friendly accommodations that you can find ahead of time and incorporate into your outing. At Touchstone, we are proud to be a part of the Beignet Fest taking place Saturday, September 24 at New Orleans City Park, which has a charitable mission to raise awareness and funds for nonprofit autism programs. At Beignet Fest, you will find an entire Kids Village to accommodate children of all abilities!

We hope to see you there!

The information provided in this blog is for educational purposes only and does not substitute for guidance from a behavior analyst or other healthcare provider.

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