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Are you organizing a gathering of family and friend for Easter? Maybe your are planning an Easter egg hunt, a large family dinner, an Easter eggs decorating party or even visiting the Easter Bunny. However, if you have a child with sensory sensitivities, your family likely struggles to participate in all of these Easter celebrations. For example, a common challenge for people who experience sensory overload or who have autism or sensory disorders, are gatherings with groups of people, even friends and family. In particular, greetings feel overwhelming. To help, choose sensory-friendly Easter greetings.
What are sensory-friendly greetings?
Are you curious about sensory-friendly greetings? Do you wonder how they differ from typical greetings? Sensory-friendly greetings are simply a way to greet someone in a way that is more comfortable for the senses. For example, many people with sensory sensitivities will feel extremely overwhelmed and stressed when having to hug or shake someone’s hand. According to research by LaGasse in 2017, “Social Outcomes in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Review of Music Therapy Outcome,” children with autism spectrum disorder may have difficulty reciprocating social interactions. Furthermore, this causes feelings of sensory overload, anxiety, and feeling of uneasiness, making holiday celebrations uncomfortable 1.
Therefore, it is important to note that everyone has different sensory preferences and preferred ways to greet other people.
What are different types of sensory-friendly greeting?
As you are aware, there are many ways to greet people. Whether that includes contact or contactless greetings. Although there is no gold standard greeting to use with someone that has sensory difference, the key is to offer options! Options let people choose and makes people comfortable.
There are a number of contact greetings that you can use to say hello to someone. For someone who does not mind close contact, these are great ideas to comfortably say hello. This may include the following:
- High fives
- Fist bump
Some people like hugs! However, make sure it is a choice, though. For other people a different type of contact, like a high five, handshake or fist bump is more comfortable.
For many people, contactless greetings are preferred. A common reason is discomfort from social situations. Or hypersensitivity to being touched unexpectedly. As a result, many people may feel more comfortable using contactless ways of greeting. For instance, some contactless sensory-friendly Easter greetings include:
- Saying hello
- Making bunny ears
- Thumbs up
- Air hug
Provide visuals of different greetings you can use
Another consideration you can use when practicing sensory-friendly greetings is to have a printed visual at the door. Moreover, let your child choose by pointing to the greeting they prefer, for example. You can print the greeting images in this blog post.
The blog post from LuxAl highlights effective ways to help your child begin to feel more comfortable greeting others. This includes suggestions such as building greetings into routines, choosing select types of greetings and using visual modelling.
How to know which sensory-friendly Easter greeting to use?
If you are in a situation in which you don’t know what sensory-friendly greeting is best to use for the other person, it is important to simply ask.
Additionally, another suggestion is to look for non-verbal cues that may suggest what type of greeting they would prefer. For example, if you notice a person not opening their arms for a hug, offer a fist bump instead. Make people feel comfortable.
This blog post highlighted what sensory-friendly Easter greetings are, why they are important and how you can greetings to help make your holiday celebration comfortable for friends and family.
Learn more about sensory-friendly greetings at Christmas.
Looking for more ways to be sensory-friendly at Easter? Check out:
- How to Host a Sensory-Friendly Easter Event
- Create a Sensory-Friendly Easter Egg Hunt for Your Child
- 10 Tips for Sensory-Friendly Easter Bunny Visit
- Easy Steps to Create a Sensory Room at Church
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Christel Seeberger has worked in health care for 30 years, including helping people with sensory sensitivity who experience sensory overload. Christel has a hearing disability and experiences sensory sensitivity and sensory overload herself. She founded Sensory Friendly Solutions in 2016 to make the world more sensory-friendly, accessible and inclusive.
- LaGasse A. B. (2017). Social Outcomes in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Review of Music Therapy Outcome. Patient related outcome measures, 8, 23–32. https://doi.org/10.2147/PROM.S106267