Ramadan. For many, it’s a special time of worship and celebration, but for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), it can also be a challenging time of uncertainty and anxiety. It can be both tricky and exhausting for parents and carers too, balancing your faith and a child’s ASD. Remember it’s okay to be conscious of others and the challenges they face – and to adapt the traditions of Ramadan to suit the whole family. Below you can find some ideas to help members of your family and community prepare for and get the most out of Ramadan. Download the PDF Prepare for Ramadan in advance Talking to an autistic or non-verbal child beforehand can help them know what to expect. Familiarise them with objects, smells and images of the occasion, and break down the schedule of events or particular prayers into stages. Social stories are an excellent tool for helping them understand how things will work and what might be expected of them. Provide motivation by praising them for grasping concepts, trying new things, or taking other small steps. Make sure they’re safe At events during Ramadan, remember to make sure children are safely supervised. All children, but especially those with ASD, can have a tendency to wander off or want to escape certain situations. Coordinate beforehand with other parents and members of the community who will be responsible for supervising the children, any areas with breakable or dangerous objects, and exits. Remember your emotional state can affect your child’s – if you’re anxious because of safety concerns, you’ll likely make them feel anxious too. Provide a calm environment You can help with sensory overload by ensuring there’s a calm space away from the hustle and bustle at any events. Some children with autism may find it hard to sit through whole prayers, so creating a quiet place for peaceful focus can be beneficial. Provide some favourite books or mindful activities. When you go to the mosque, choose times when it’ll be quieter and sit somewhere it’s a little less busy or full of distractions. You can also bring earplugs or headphones and familiar objects. Raise awareness within your community Not everyone knows someone with autism, and you should be mindful that others will not understand certain reactions. Help them learn more about autism, how those with autism might feel or act in certain situations, and how they can respond to help and share enjoyment of the occasion together. Ask experts for help You could also contact dedicated organisations or special educational needs teachers for advice on how to make Ramadan a more welcoming and comfortable experience for those with autism, and then work with your imam to implement these ideas. Download the PDF Discover app2vox, the free app enhancing communication for individuals with autism app2vox is a new app making accessibility more accessible. Completely free and easy to use, app2vox enhances communication for non-verbal and autistic adults and children, using text to speech, phrase building and intuitive icons. You can explore all app2vox’s features for yourself here or register your interest. To learn more about autism spectrum disorder head over to our resources or blog. Other Resources At what age do autistic children talk? This resource helps to answer the question of what age autistic children talk by looking at the difference between verbal and non-verbal autism. A parent’s guide to autism This resource is designed to help parents who have just received a diagnosis of autism for their child, providing support and actionable advice. How to explain autism to a diagnosed child How can you explain a diagnosis of autism to a child? What to say, how to say it, the circumstances to tell them in and why.