Monday, September 23, 2013

Fairs- great sensory trips

We went to the fair the other day and I realized just how much sensory input a fair delivers.  First, all the noise of the fair.  A crowded fair tends to be quite noisy and stimulating with sudden loud sounds, animal cries and people laughing and screaming.  I noticed quite a few children with their hands over their ears.  Second, there are lots of smells- some good (food) and some not so good (animal droppings).  The smells can be quite overwhelming at times as you walk around.  Third, the proximity of all people and animals.  As you walk around the fair, it is inevitable that you get jostled and pushed by other people, while animals walk near by.
For a child with sensory issues, a fair can be quite overwhelming.  But don't just avoid the situation- a fair can be quite educational for children.  They get to see up close animals that they may not see in everyday life.  So, ease your child into the experience.  Let them know what to expect prior to going and throughout their day.  You could say, "ok, we are going into the cow section.  It may be loud and smelly."  If your child is not able to handle the full experience, just stand in the doorway to see the cows.  Allow your child to put his/her hands over his/her ears, if necessary.  Read your child's reaction to the stimuli so that you are able to deal with it before it becomes too intense and you are facing a meltdown.  Remember, it's ok to leave an area that is too much for your child.  It's also ok to stay in an area, even if it's mildly uncomfortable to your child.  You need to be aware of your child's reactions to best deal with the situation. 

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