Halloween Fun! (Desensitization)
Halloween is a fun night of costumes and candy for kids of all ages. But for those on the autism spectrum, it can be a little intimidating. Unusual sights and sounds, people dressed up in costume, wearing an unfamiliar outfit, and going out at night can easily be overstimulating and uncomfortable. At NGAC, we put on a special Trick-Or-Treating event each year to help our kiddos desensitize to the “novel” activity it in a more comfortable setting, so they feel ready and confident to go out Halloween night and have fun!
What is desensitizing?
Desensitization means being exposed to small amounts of the aversive (or “disliked”) situation until the learner is able to be calm during the presentation of the step and receive reinforcement. So, for example, if the learner was afraid of dogs, the first step would be calmly looking at a picture of a dog, then touching a stuffed dog, then being in close proximity to a real dog, and then eventually petting the dog calmly. In the context of Halloween, we are desensitizing to the task of wearing a costume, going door-to-door, and receiving candy from unfamiliar adults while remaining calm and comfortable!
Today, NGAC’s Trick-Or-Treaters practiced going door to door with their therapist, knocking, and asking for candy in whatever way is easiest to communicate for them! Our kiddos had a blast, and we always enjoy seeing their adorable costumes! Check out the photos below to get your daily dose of cuteness!