Parties for Children and Teens on the Autism Spectrum
Planning a party for a child or teen on the Autism Spectrum? Fear not!
While wandering the stacks of the public library, I happened upon the book Party Planning for Children and Teens on the Autism Spectrum: How to avoid meltdowns and have fun! By Kate E Reynolds.
Honestly, I don’t know why this book wasn’t written years ago!! A brilliant topic, and a well-written book with practical advice for parents planning a party for a child living on the Autism Spectrum, or for a family planning to invite a child on the Spectrum.
Ms. Reynolds is raising a child on the Autism Spectrum, and it is clear that she has maintained her sense of humor, and cultivated a very direct, clear style of communication. In the early chapters of the book Ms. Reynolds outlines possible problems and pitfalls (personal space, unpredictability, sensory concerns, giving a gift that you actually want for yourself…). She uses wit and clear examples, almost talking you out of hosting the party! Then, in a marvelous manner, Ms. Reynolds walks us through how to plan an age appropriate party, including use of visual cues, visual schedules (right, just like school – yes, we can generalize skills across locations!), social stories, and signage (Bathroom, this way!). She even provides chapters (in words and tables!) of activities that would be fun to do at a party.
Perhaps my favorite reason to love this book is Chapter 10: Parties for Teenagers. Ms. Reynolds actually gives voice to the fears that parents have regarding sexuality and offers advice about how to navigate the changing bodies of teenagers. She actually writes about concerns regarding hygiene, boundaries, and masturbation, all topics that parents worry about, and she directly addresses. Thank you, Ms. Reynolds!
Kudos to Ms. Reynolds for her wit and insight. A fabulous book with plenty of bullet points (which is necessary, if you are attempting to read a book while raising a child of any type, but particularly a child that requires substantial parenting, as found in children on the Spectrum).
Party on, people!