Bella Mikes and her family are looking forward to seeing the fireworks 4th of July in Temple this weekend, after missing last year due to COVID-19.
“We took so much time preparing her to go out and be social with other people the with Covid we were kind of stuck at home,” said Bella’s mom Pamela Land.
Land said being locked away for so long made it tough Bella to develop social skills, especially since her 10-year-old daughter has autism.
“We stayed home for so long and didn’t go anywhere so she kind of regressed,” said Land.
Soon excitement will fill the air and while this is a good opportunity for Bella the bangs, booms and large crowds at the celebrations are also a challenge.
“When it starts to get overwhelming, she does tend to have a meltdown. She can scream and throw tantrums,” said Land.
“With fireworks, you have really loud noises and a lot of visual stimuli as well. I could lead to sensory overload which ultimately produces a sense of anxiety and unrest,” said Texas A&M Central Texas Counseling and Psychology Department Assistant Professor Sam Fiala.
Local experts say there are earmuffs, weighted blankets and other things parents can bring to help.
“Show them a movie about fireworks and take a long star from home, personal items,” said Misty Narvaiz who is a local private care sitter for Bell and other adults and children with special needs.
Land said Bell has only been to two fireworks celebrations during the fourth and they always prepare Bella so she can be safe while she enjoys the festivities.
Experts said tell your neighbors when you plan to shoot off fireworks so that they can prepare their children, and if you do plan to shoot fireworks from your home do it earlier in the afternoon because it is hard for kids with special needs to go to sleep.