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Blue jack-o’-lanterns help bring awareness to kids with autism during Halloween

Published: Oct. 8, 2021 at 4:33 PM CDT
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OTTUMWA, Iowa (KYOU) - Halloween is a night of fun and fright, but keep an eye out for blue jack-o’-lanterns. The kids carrying the blue pumpkin are letting everyone know they are autistic.

Amanda Hart, a therapist with River Hills Community Center, says when kids with a blue bucket come to your house or if you pass them on the street, you need to be mindful of the child. “Their boundaries are different; you wouldn’t want to rush up to them, or maybe Halloween, you don’t want to rush up and be scary to them.”

According to Hart, environments with lots of commotion can be difficult for a child with autism to handle. “Too many stimuli is way too hard, and it can get way too much as you don’t want a lot of people around, a lot of lights, a lot of noise things like that.”

When an autistic child is over-stimulated, it means, they are reacting to the situation and are defending themselves.

Hart says if you do open your door to a child with a blue jack o lantern, just say hello and don’t try to interact with them too much. “Some people get into the scaring kids or maybe trying to get that social give and take of interaction, you’re not going to get that same thing.”

Cindy Ellis, a mother of an autistic child, says the lanterns give the kids a voice. “We’re gonna see it, and we’re gonna know not to be aggressive, not to make a big deal over their costume.”

Most blue jack-o’-lanterns can be found in stores, but if you run into a problem finding one for your child or someone you know, you can always get crafty and make your own.

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