Special Needs Parenting on the Fourth of July

I can vividly remember the excitement I had as a child, waiting all day on the 4th of July, to watch the fireworks. After a fun filled day, of hanging out with friends and our extended family, we would finally drive off in the early evening to our viewing location. We would lay our blanket down to fireworkclaim our spot and then run around with the other kids until the sun finally set and it was time to start the show. These are moments I dreamed about recreating with my children one day. That was before I knew I would become a special needs parent.

Both of my kiddos have sensory processing disorders. Kendall covers her ears and squeals when a motorcycle drives by and Gavin screams daily when I’m vacuuming the apartment or blow-drying my hair. Fireworks are beautiful, but they can be also loud and scary for them.

I have struggled over the years to try to figure out ways to enjoy the fourth of July without my kiddos feeling like they are missing out on the exciting fireworks that their friends are raving about the next day at camp or school. The issue is they think they can handle it, but once we are there they both quickly remember the loud noises are too much for them. This year, with both of them once again begging to watch fireworks, we are going to find an indoor location to watch them. Fingers crossed this can be a successful new tradition for our family.IMG_3529

As with many things in our lives we have had to recreate the standard road map. We hope people understand when we have to decline typical firework invites. Although our kids will seem excited about the invitation the screaming and crying that comes with viewing them live is hard on everyone involved. This year we are going to enjoy fireworks (late at 10:30pm!!!) in our own sensory friendly way.

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