Skip to main navigation Skip to main content
News and Real Life

Bonfire night – fun or fear? Some tips to cope

For many, Bonfire night is one of fun and fireworks! For others, it can be a night of high anxiety - especially for those living with ASD or who are easily overwhelmed.

Patient Info has some great advice on how to prepare and maybe even enjoy some of the fun.

They say “there is a strong relationship between autism and anxiety, with research suggesting that as many as 40% of autistic people are believed to also have at least one anxiety disorder. For some autistic people, the noisy, unexpected and unpredictable nature of firework displays can cause anxiety and stress…whether an autistic person is feeling anxious or not, over-sensitivity to the loud bangs and bright lights of fireworks can cause them physical discomfort or pain”

There are a number of ways you could try which may make Bonfire Night a more positive experience:

Communicate: Explain what the celebration is about and what they may expect.

Agree a plan: Involve everyone in the planning. This can help people to feel prepared and make the fireworks feel less unexpected and unpredictable.

Talk through firework safety: Talk through the safety rules with your child and explain how you are following safety measures. This can be a good idea if your child’s anxiety stems from a fear of getting hurt.

Get some ear defenders: These can block out or reduce the impact of the noise on ears. This may soothe anxiety or reduce symptoms of sensory sensitivity. There are also noise-cancelling headphones that block out noise but still allow speech to be heard, which can be reassuring.

Watch tv: Television may drown out or distract from local firework displays. You could even watch televised fireworks, which has been shown to ease stress and anxiety in some cases.

Provide comfort items: Snacks, drinks, and other comfort items can provide a nice distraction and help people to keep calm.

Lead by example: Being a calm and positive presence during a fireworks display can help to ease anxiety.

If you are a parent, a child or a young person living with anxiety and/or ASD we might be able to help. Contact us to find out more.

  • Share