Celebrating An Autism Friendly New Year

We all know that children with autism do not like a change in routine. With this in mind, how can we modify the typical New Year’s Eve celebrations so a later bedtime and issues with noise won’t cause an emotional meltdown?

Is it possible to ring in the New Year with a child on the Autism spectrum and still maintain calm?

If you are thinking of celebrating and want to avoid unnecessary stressors for a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, here are a few suggestions borrowed from PBS parents and adjusted with the special needs child in mind to help maintain a fun yet peaceful atmosphere.


Many kids can’t or shouldn’t stay up until midnight. Children with Autism already have sleep issues so why exacerbate the problem? Bring out the confetti, ticker tape and sparkling drinks early in the day and have a count down to 12 noon on Dec. 31st.




You don’t have to be in Time Square to experience the New Year ritual. Avoid the sensory stimulation that most children with Autism cannot tolerate and have your own ball drop at home. Plan your own festivity in advance and create a ball of your choice as a fun family activity, then drop it at the predetermined time!

Make sure you take the time to plan any of these activities in advance. Write them on the family calendar and discuss them days before the event so they do not come as a surprise. Remember, children with Autism like predictability so giving them enough advanced notice will prevent unnecessary hassles and keep the fireworks to a minimum.

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