Tips for the Upcoming Mardi Gras Season

It’s almost time to throw me somethin’, mister! But first, we want to give you a few tips on how to navigate Mardi Gras with your little ones! Our Emerge Center therapists put their heads together and made a list of helpful ideas for parents of children with autism or communication delays who plan to attend Mardi Gras parades and festivities. Here are their suggestions:

From the audiologists…

  • Hearing protection, such as ear plugs or noise-cancelling head phones, will protect your child’s hearing in environments with loud music and high noise levels. As an added benefit, headphones or ear plugs can provide relief for children who are extra sensitive to noise.

From the speech and occupational therapists…

  • Provide your child with fidgets, which are toys or small objects that your child can manipulate in their hands. Giving them something to keep their hands busy will help them focus on the parade activities.
  • Bring a favorite object, such as a stuffed animal or a blanket. Having something familiar may help your child feel more comfortable and safe.
  • Read books or watch videos about parades. This will familiarize your child with the activities to expect and prepare them for the sights and sounds of carnival time.
  • Practice throwing and catching beads. Have your child look at you, then gently throw the beads underhanded, encouraging them to catch. Making this a fun activity will allow for less confusion during the parade. This practice will also offer opportunities to motor plan “how to catch,” and will help them practice that all-important skill of “waiting”!  
  • Find a less crowded area or a spot with more distance from the floats. Allowing your child to watch from a distance may keep them from becoming afraid or overwhelmed.
  • Have a safe place to go if your child seems to be getting upset. Take a moment to walk around to a quieter spot then make your way back at their pace.
  • You may want to watch from the car first, roll down the windows to get used to the noise, then attempt to walk closer to the parade. Taking one step at a time allows your child to “get ready” to go towards the action.

We hope these tips are useful and provide encouragement for this upcoming season. Remember to enjoy the moments and laissez bon temps rouler!