A sensory-friendly trick or treat will take place 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28 at the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Behavioral Supports, located at 1737 Russell Cave Rd.
The free event is open to all. It is hosted by UK College of Education Center for Applied Behavioral Supports faculty director Justin Lane, Ph.D., and clinical director and special education doctoral scholar Katherine Lynch, as well as graduate students who provide services to families at the center.
“Families who bring their children should expect to feel welcome and know there is a space for their child to engage in a way that is enjoyable for them, whether that is quietly completing a puzzle or playing ring toss with other children,” said Lane, an associate professor of special education in the Department of Early Childhood, Special Education, and Counselor Education. “We respect and value all differences and, as such, we will work to create an inclusive environment where all children can spend time doing things they enjoy.”
For those handing out Halloween treats at home or other venues, Lane offered tips for creating an inclusive experience for all children.
“We should be present and available to the child. Listen, wait, and follow the child’s lead. I have found this approach is typically best across all activities,” Lane said.
He recommends keeping in mind that children communicate in a variety of ways, including using speech to communicate, pointing to things of interest, using facial expressions to indicate happiness, and more.
“Some children will say ‘trick or treat,’ some will point to candy, and some may not be interested in interacting with you in the moment – all are equally okay and deserve respect. We should not force a child to fit a certain mold or expectation that we have for them. For example, some children will wear a costume and some will not. Ultimately, we recognize there is not a right or wrong way for a child to be involved in the community.”
Questions about the sensory-friendly trick or treat event can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. To learn more about degrees in Applied Behavior Analysis, visit education.uky.edu/edsrc/eds/degrees-programs/aba/. For more information on services offered by the Center for Applied Behavioral Supports, visit education.uky.edu/edsrc/eds/degrees-programs/aba/clinic/.