Autism-friendly Easter Egg Hunt

It’s springtime, and usually (for many of us), that means prepping for Easter festivities. 

For children with developmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), holidays such as this are already a little different. While there’s still excitement in the air, children on the spectrum have a difficult time with unknown happenings and unfamiliar experiences. Seemingly simple activities such as an Easter egg hunt could be overwhelming to someone with ASD. But with a little insight and conscious adjustment, you can achieve a successful, autism-friendly Easter egg hunt that includes everyone in the fun.

Help children know what to expect

A big stressor for children with ASD is not knowing what to expect out of an event. Take the time to really set up clear expectations and explanations for the Easter egg hunt. Appeal to the need for visual aids by showing children pictures of what their experience might be like—a child searching for eggs, finding an egg, putting it in a basket, or asking for help if they need it. If the location is unfamiliar, show pictures of that, too.

If your Easter celebration includes more than just an egg hunt, create a schedule with words and pictures to convey to children the sequence of events.

Social stories are extremely helpful to children with autism preparing for new situations. Find or create a story (written or video) about a child participating in an Easter egg hunt. Include obvious details—such as finding eggs and enjoying prizes—as well as less-obvious aspects of the experience—like being courteous to others, keeping within the limit of eggs gathered, and asking an adult for help.

If you do choose to go somewhere other than your home or backyard for your egg hunt, it may benefit your child to practice beforehand in a familiar place. Perhaps you could scatter empty eggs in your backyard to have a “trial run” hunt before the real deal. This will help them feel more comfortable with the new activity and less anxious about it when the big day comes.

 

Download the PECS card activity PDF