Scary Situation: Fireworks and children with autism

Scary Situation: Fireworks and children with autism

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Loud, colorful and flashy is what makes fireworks attractive to most of us. However, that's not the case for some children with autism.

Tia Nicholson is the mother of 15-year-old twin boys. She said the first time her sons experienced a fireworks show in Virginia when they were younger was anything but magical.

"As soon as the first one exploded, terror went across their faces. They immediately went into scream mode," Nicholson said.

"Loud noises, bright light, sometimes could be another thing they have a tough time with. And, crowds. A lot of times with fireworks there are large crowds around, which could be overwhelming," said Jack O'Connor, who is the school director for the Matthew Reardon Center for Autism.

The Center for Disease Control estimates one in 68 kids are affected by autism, and fireworks can be a problem for them.

"I guess to understand, you have to understand the autism brain stimulus just comes at them all at once," Nicholson said.

It's important to know your child's boundaries before inviting them into an environment that seems life threatening to them. One way to help children with autism cope is to have that security blanket readily available to provide comfort.

"Some kids might wear those ear-muffs that you wear when you're mowing the lawn or working with power equipment. Some kids might wear earphones with music to drown out any loud noises," O'Connor said.

Everyone diagnosed with autism isn't the same. Children can fall on a scale of classic autism being on the low-functioning end to Asperger's being on the high-functioning end.

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