On Halloween, children of all abilities go trick or treating.
The child who comes to your door but avoids eye contact may have difficulty looking at faces (complexity).
The child who is upset in a crowd may have difficulty with complex sensory environments and sensory integration.
The child who takes f o r e v e r to pick out a single piece of candy may have difficulty with overwhelming complexity.
The child who wears the same costume three years in a row may have difficulty with novelty.
The child who excitedly tells everybody “Happy Halloween!” beginning loooong before October 31st, may be practicing his script.
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He waits aaaaalllllllllll year for Halloween.
For a child who cannot recognize friends and peers and teachers he sees every day at school, or even recognize his mom –
For a child who cannot “see” and interpret facial expressions, body language, gestures, or predict what others around him will do –
For a child who has a tough time interacting with his peers, anxious and not knowing what to say or how to act – Halloween provides him a script. October is the rehearsal. He knows the script, he has practiced it for weeks now.
Everybody dressed in costume – everybody unrecognizable – the playing field is a little leveled for him that day. He gets to play, he gets to participate, he is included. Just like everybody else. He knows how to dress, he knows what to say, he knows what to do – he knows what to expect. He gets to be social and have fun in a way he knows how, in a way he doesn’t get to do the whole rest of the year.
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At Halloween, children of all abilities go trick or treating. The child who comes to your door may have cortical visual impairment (CVI).
Show some kindness.
Practice some patience.
Simply say “Happy Halloween!” back and you will have made his day. Until next year.