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Celebrating Halloween with a special needs child

(Source The Children's Rehab Hospital) (Source The Children's Rehab Hospital)

BETHANY, OK (KSWO)– While most little ghosts and goblins can’t wait to dress up and prowl the neighborhood, Halloween can cause a lot of stress and anxiety for children with special needs.

“All the sights, sounds, and smells of Halloween can be 100 times scarier for a child with special needs,” said Kelly Whitehead, an occupational therapist at The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital. “Halloween is a fun holiday and we want all children to safely be able to participate.”

The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital offers these tips to make “trick-or-treating” an enjoyable experience:

  • Children with sensory processing difficulties can sometimes have a hard time wearing a Halloween costume.  Parents can create a fun costume out of comfortable, familiar clothing or try wearing the itchy costume around the house before the holiday.
  • Nonverbal children can get the “trick or treat” message out this Halloween using devices. Decorate a fun “trick or treat” sign together.
  • Practicing trick-or-treating before the holiday can be very helpful for the child. Practice ringing the doorbell, saying “trick-or-treat” and “thank you” after choosing a treat.
  • If a child has special dietary needs or food allergies, give neighbors safe Halloween treats in advance to hand out to their child.
  • If noise bothers your child, consider celebrating at home and give out treats, play games, and do crafts.

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