Families of people with autism urge caution with fireworks
When people think of the Fourth of July, they automatically think of fireworks, but sometimes it’s hard on loved ones who are autistic.
Fireworks are an American tradition to celebrate the nation’s independence and freedom.
But, for twin boys, they love the holiday just not the fireworks show.
“Peter has a hard time with dealing with loud noise or big crowds. So, we’ve had to accommodate him on holidays. Sometimes, he’d hide in his room,” said Andy Meszaros.
For the Meszaros family, accommodate is a common word. Twin boys, Nicholas and Peter have autism, as well as their younger brother.
Their parents, Beth and Andy say holiday can sometimes be tricky.
“We make accommodations for each one of them. It’s tough sometimes. Things don’t’ always go as planned,” Meszaros said.
The boys attend a learning center and live in a community house through Adelbrook, a multi-layered service meant to help families with developmental disorders.
“I don’t think this is often talked about. Autism is becoming much more prevalent in our society,” said Sabrina Cameron of Adelbrook.
Executive Vice President, Sabrina Cameron says it’s possible to celebrate the holiday with innovative ways, without overstimulating the senses.
“That can be just having a barbeque, doing sidewalk chalk, blowing bubbles, having water games, being in an environment that is safe and comfortable for your loved one,” Cameron said.
If you do opt for the main show, Cameron mentions sunglasses may help with the lights while noise-cancelling headphones are also helpful. Even consider smaller events and head towards the back where it might be more manageable for some who can only handle smaller crowds.
Cameron also suggests watching sensory-friendly videos of fireworks accompanied with calming music.
For the Meszaro family, they bring all holiday parties to their home.
“So, they help with baking and cooking, so that way they can be part of it. They know the people who are coming, so they’re more comfortable being out and being social,” said Beth Meszaro.
This Fourth of July, they have decided to attend a picnic. While Nicholas is fine with fireworks, he’s staying close to Peter.
“As long as there are swings around and water play for Nicholas, they will be very happy,” Beth said.