From people I have spoken to, whether that be a parent or a child who has a visual impairment or a visually impaired person, my response to the question “Do you enjoy Bonfire Night?” can differ greatly.
Some people adore it and find it a real sensory explosion of lights and noises against dark back grounds, so it becomes a real treat.
Some people hate the bangs, and are unable to appreciate the visual aspect of it.
Others just down right hate it, as it is upsetting for their guide dogs. This is currently a fiercely debated topic surrounding the selling of firework in terms of the distress it can cause to animals full stop!
So for the purpose of this post I am going to write about my own individual experiences of how I enable my daughter Scarlett to enjoy Bonfire Night!
Scarlett is nine, has no useful vision at all, limited levels of understanding and sensory issues around being able to tolerate certain noises. Rather than just a disdain to high volume, it is more specific to the type of sound. Scarlett has an eight year old brother, Sonny, with no additional needs and who would very much like to be a part of Bonfire celebrations!
So here are my top tips to try and make both of my children happy, and all enjoy the night together!
Use something as a distraction tool, music, electronic device for example.
If able to, make a den or somewhere cosy and settling so the environment provides a sense of calm.
Have drinks and snacks – These can help to be a distraction.
Stand further away from the action if at a large organised event.
Celebrate at home – Being in an environment where Scarlett feels safe can really help her to feel a bit more comfortable. It also means if you let off fireworks or light sparklers, they know when it is going to happen, so it is less of a surprise.
Have a virtual Bonfire Night – Watching fireworks on the TV or a computer can also be fun, and means you can control how loud the fireworks are.
The adult be in a position to be calm – a calm parent is the best calming tool for a child who may become distressed.
Noise cancelling headphones! They can reduce the sound so it is not too startling.