FORT WAYNE, Indiana (WANE) – As people prepare for little ghosts and goblins to descend their aisles, a mother in Fort Wayne wants to remind everyone that the kids behind the masks aren’t all the same . That’s why its mission is to spread the word about how to make Trick-or-Treating accessible to children of all levels.
“I’ve been thinking about it for eleven years as a parent of a disabled child. It’s something that I have stored and things that I notice when I go out with my child and with friends who have disabled children, ”said Cassie Beer.
Cassie’s eldest son, Avram, is eleven, but in terms of development, he’s only around three.
“His brain just didn’t grow the way brains normally grow. It therefore has overall delays; physical and cognitive delays, ”she explained.
To say that Avram is a human person would be an understatement. He is known as the greeter of his neighborhood.
“When he comes home from school, he will sit in the yard and say hello to everyone. He has never met a foreigner. If you see us at the grocery store, he might just go for a walk with you or he’ll go sit with other people in a restaurant because he loves people and I like it about him, ”smiled Cassie. .
This love of people makes Avram also love Halloween.
“Even more than candy he likes to see everyone,” she said.
But, sometimes getting treats can be difficult.
“He might not understand that if there is a bucket of candy, he can’t just take the whole bucket. Or he might want to walk into your house and see what’s going on there because it sounds like a great place. Some of the social norms are a challenge for him. But, often it’s because people just don’t know how to answer it, ”Cassie explained.
To help all the kids have a fun Halloween, Cassie tries to teach other owners how to make their Trick-or-Treating experience inclusive for kids of all skill levels.
1: Have a separate bucket of peanut-free candy, so it’s safe for children with allergies. A turquoise pumpkin is also an indicator that the candy in that bucket is allergen free. Learn more about the Teal Pumpkin project here.
2: Have a bucket with small toys or candy-free treats for kids who can’t eat candy.
3: Move the Trick-or-Treating display to the end of the aisle to avoid driveways and sidewalks that may be difficult for people in wheelchairs or those who have difficulty walking.
4: Don’t judge a child as “too old”.
“Avram looks like a big kid, but he’s about three years of development, so Trick-or-Treating is still a big deal for him. Keep this in mind that even if someone looks too old, it could still be a special activity for them, ”Cassie explained.
5: Don’t make a child say “Trick-or-Treat”
“Children may not be physically able to say the words ‘Trick-or-Treat’ because of a disability or not having that muscle tone. Forcing children to say ‘Trick-or-Treat’ might make them uncomfortable or leave them out, ”she said.
Cassie added that if a child of different abilities comes to your home, it really comes down to kindness.
“He’s a person too and they’re kids too and they deserve eye contact, a big smile and a ‘Hello! Oh my God, your costume looks amazing! ‘ like any other child. Kindness and an open heart are expected, ”Cassie said.
Click here for the Trick-or-Treat times in the area.
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