Color & Control:

How to throw an inclusive birthday party

Birthday parties should be a joyous occasion for all. Food, friends, presents, cake, what’s not to like? Well, for some kids, birthday parties can cause low self-esteem and anxiety if they are not planned to comfortably include them. Here are some tips to ensure that everyone is able to partake in the festivities!

Reach out to parents and caregivers
Let caregivers know what activities are planned and ask them if there is anything you can do to accommodate their child. This could include a venue review, food allergies, accessibility concerns, sensitivities or behavioural considerations.

Accessible bathrooms
Ensure venues have wide stalls to fit aids and low enough countertops so people in wheelchairs can reach the sink.

Timeline of events
Transitioning activities can be difficult for neurodiverse kids. Have a visual schedule and announce the next activity to avoid any potential frustrations.

Prepare self-contained activities
Certain disabilities may make it difficult for kids to participate in physical activities. Include things that can be done in one spot such as sensory bins, making slime or painting.

Consider communication methods
For children with speech delays or visual challenges, seek out venues that have large communication boards and text with braille, or create your own!

Be mindful of the environment
Loud music and bright lights can be triggering for children who struggle with sensory processing or epilepsy. Ditch the strobe lights, and keep music at a moderate level.

Check passageways
Ramps, railings and wide doorways are all important considerations when throwing an inclusive birthday party.

Seek extra help
The more adults available, the more help they’ll be in assisting in general and in the event of adverse reactions or struggling.


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