Autism affects every culture, race, and ethnicity. With that, comes a population of neurodiverse children who also have a whole different set of customs, traditions, and religions than their peers. While parents may desire to check out a Hanukkah celebration, Filipino festival, or an Indian restaurant, they may hesitate because of the change in schedule and custom for their children.
Here are five ways to provide variation into your schedule to increase diversity:
- Read multicultural books and buy multicultural toys for your child.
- Some of our favorite books are: I Am Enough by Grace Byers, Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena and Christian Robinson, and What Should Danny Do (the Power to Choose series) by Adir Levy
- Slowly increase the spice level or different types of foods in your home. For instance, if your child has a friend from Kenya and you would like to incorporate Kenyan foods into your meals, start with a soup that is similar to one that you eat in your home with one Kenyan food item in it. Once your child eats that item, continue to alter the recipe until your child eats the entire Kenyan soup.
- Go to festivals or cultural events: Plan on going to festivals or cultural events by prepping the child ahead of time or even driving by on multiple days so the child can see the event before immersing into it. Bring necessary items such as headphones or contact the event coordinator to be able to come at a time that suits your child’s sensory needs.
- Watch multicultural shows: Immerse your child into different shows with a multicultural audience
- Plan neurodiverse and multicultural playdates with others: Facebook or NextDoor may be great resources to find others in your area that are looking to multicultural or neurodiverse play dates.
Once you include some of the ideas above in your daily routines, your children will be more likely to be able to participate in multicultural events, food and customs with ease.