Harlingen, ValleyCentral, TX — New Year’s Eve is one of the loudest and most challenging events for people with autism.
New Year’s Eve is a holiday known for traditions such as fireworks displays and spending time with family, but it can be fun for some and overwhelming for others.
“All we’re asking is for them to understand a little bit more that this is not easy and it’s not intentional. They don’t do it because they don’t want to. It’s really hard,” Rocio said. Calderon said.
Three of Calderón’s children have autism, and she is a co-founder of Autism In My Life/Autismo en Mi Vida, a nonprofit that works to educate the public about autism. I am a board member.
The group promotes inclusion and autism awareness as well as parent training and education.
Members of the group want the public to understand that loud noises, flashing lights, unfamiliar places and people can trigger overwhelming feelings in people with autism. .
“Sometimes we don’t always realize that there are real struggles with some of the things that may seem pretty commonplace, like fireworks.
This can lead to crying, running away, and isolation.
Calderon says she doesn’t want people to stop celebrating, but she wants them to understand how difficult this time is for people like her children.
“Maybe hearing loud noises late at night can make it really difficult for them to fall asleep or even feel safe at home,” Calderon said.
Maribel Leos is another member of Autism In My Life/Autismo en Mi Vida.
Her son has autism, and she recommends having headphones to block out excessive noise.
Experts also suggest that making things more familiar to children with autism can make them less stressed.
“With the help of headphones, we went to the fireworks display for the first time. We parked far away so we could see the fireworks from the sports park,” Leos said.
If you have a child with autism, this group recommends showing them a video of fireworks instead of cracking them and slowly exposing them to the display until they are more comfortable.
“We put soothing music in the car for him. He could see the fireworks…we did that for a little while until he could get a little closer. ” said Leos.
The group says the community can reach out to parents of children with autism and help on ways to make celebrations more inclusive.