6 Steps to Setting Up Spectrum-Friendly Outdoor Fun
Although Autism Awareness. month is over we are very excited to have this blog to share from Guest Blogger Danny Knight
Getting outside has some major health benefits for kids. But if you have a child who is on the autism spectrum, you may be worried about how to keep them safe. Children with autism tend to have special needs when it comes to playtime, but here are a few ways to enhance outdoor safety and fun for your children:
Clean Up Your Yard
If your family has been hibernating indoors all winter, it’s a safe bet that your yard could use some help. Overgrown grass and weeds can cause skin irritations, cuts and can be especially bothersome to children with sensory issues. Grab some garden gloves and get out there to tidy your outdoor spaces up. Pick up trash and pull any weeds. Trim down hedges and trees, and be especially careful of those branches. Dead limbs can fall onto little ones and cause injuries. So take a close look around your yard to get rid of any dangers to your family.
Keeps Bugs Out of Playtime
Bug bites and even bugs themselves can be a bummer for kids. Before you all get out to enjoy some sunshine together, be sure your yard is free of harmful insects. Pick up pet waste to get rid of flies. Carefully inspect overhangs and small spots for wasp nests and spiders. Look around your yard for ant mounds, especially if your area is prone to fire ants. Consult a harmful insect guide and then find safe ways to get rid of any pests that have taken up residence in your yard.
Create Some Sensory Fun
Sensory sensitivity and delays are common with children who are on the spectrum. There are tons of sensory activities that you can take outside with you this summer. Roll out a tarp and let your kids paint with some shaving cream colors. Or, put those leftover plastic eggs to use by making some sensory instruments.
Have one of those plastic pools hanging around? Then grab it and fill it with some autism-friendly fun. Use pool noodles or foam to help your kids have fun.
Be Especially Safe Around Water
Getting wet is part of outdoor fun, but water can pose a serious threat to children. If you are lucky enough to have a pool in your yard, install a notification system, which will sound an alarm anytime someone gets in the water. Leave it turned on when you are not around to supervise your space. Keep flotation devices nearby in case of any accidents. Planning a trip to a lake, river or beach? Be sure to have your children wear life vests when they’re in the water. If your child does swallow any water, be aware of the signs of secondary drowning and seek medical help immediately.
Stay Fueled and Hydrated
Little ones can get so wrapped up in outdoor fun that they forget to take a snack break. Make breaks more accessible by keeping healthy options on hand. Whip up some goodies that even picky eaters won’t want to put down. Make sure your kids are staying as well. Keep those water bottles filled and nearby at all times. Have a hard time getting your kids to drink water? Then use some more creative ways to quench their thirst. Make some healthy popsicles or some shaved ice to sneak that water into their playtime.
Prevent Sunburn and Heat Problems
If you’re child has sensory issues, sun protection can be a tricky topic. Use spray on sunscreens to get the job done on kids who won’t stay still. Be sure to cover all exposed areas of their body and apply protection a half hour before sun exposure. Keep those ears and scalp protected with hats. It’s also important to protect your children from overheating. Heat exhaustion is a major summer concern, so help them find ways to cool off every now and then.
Having a child on the spectrum doesn’t mean they’ll miss out on outdoor fun. Just take a little extra time to get your backyard ready and keep safety a top priority. You’ll be outside having fun soon and making memories together before you know it!
harmful insect guide - https://www.insectidentification.org/harmful-insects.asp
autism-friendly fun - https://parentingfromtheheartblog.com/5-kiddie-pool-sensory-play-ideas/
secondary drowning - https://www.today.com/parents/dry-secondary-drowning-kids-how-spot-prevent-t129574
healthy popsicles - https://www.superhealthykids.com/recipe-category/popsicles-and-frozen-treats/
Photo Credit: Pexels