Child & Family Development Child & Family Development

July 1, 2015

OT advice on fireworks and sensory processing difficulties

Posted by: childandfamily

It’s that time of year, so Melissa Petcu, Occupational Therapist at Child and Family Development is saying “Happy Independence Day, Y’all!” once again and offering some tips to keep fireworks fun for kids and teens with auditory sensory processing difficulties. 

firework

If you have a child with auditory defensiveness or auditory sensitivity, they may have difficulty with watching the fireworks. As you may know, children with auditory sensitivity often have a fight or flight response to a noise that is too over stimulating.  

Plan ahead to avoid overload and meltdowns:

  • Show videos of fireworks on youtube or other sources.
  • Color pictures of fireworks
  • Talk about how they go BOOM! 

Control the multi-sensory experience of fireworks in these ways.  Ideas include:

  • Insert soft earplugs to reduce noise
  • Insert cotton balls (halved) to reduce noise
  • Wear sound reducing headphones to reduce noise
  • Practice using and wearing these items before the big night 
  • Snuggle up with a weighted blanket to provide comfort during the show to provide comfort and decrease fight or flight response to the loud noise
  • Eat some crunchy or chewy treats, like popcorn or chewing gum, during the show to provide comfort and decrease fight or flight response to the loud noise
  • Practice using and eating these items before the big night
  • Watch the show from a far away spot to reduce the intensity of the sound
  • Watch the show from an indoor spot to reduce the intensity of the sound  

Click to read more about auditory defensiveness in another post by Melissa Petcu.

Our 9 Occupational Therapists are available for a free phone consultation.