Brennan Sheldon was diagnosed with autism when he was two years old. His mother Angela said Brennan has difficulties with social interaction, and like others with autism, feels triggered by different things.
“Some of them are sensitivities whether it’s too bright … different sounds, large crowds — things of that nature,” said Alex Scott, Autism Services of Saskatoon director of family programs.
The triggers are very apparent on Halloween, but Angela wanted Brennan to be exposed to things that challenged him.
“He was scared, but we would introduce Halloween slowly,” Angela said.
Brennan is now 18 years old. He has become more social, loves adventures and has even grown to love Halloween.
Angela is grateful for his growth and said he was only able to grow by being challenged.
The autism spectrum is wide, so some people with autism might have to take Halloween at a slower pace than others. Even something like wearing a costume can seem illogical and uncomfortable.
Starting with just a hat or a silly T-shirt is one way to get someone with autism more comfortable with the idea of wearing a costume. If noise is a trigger for someone, wearing earplugs might help.
There are also ways for people handing out candy to accommodate children with autism.
“Explaining what it is that they’re doing, why they’re doing it,” Scott said.
“A lot of kids need to have a reason for what they’re doing, especially if they’re on the spectrum.”
Another way to show your home is autism-friendly is by leaving a blue pumpkin out, representing the colour of autism awareness.