Blue pumpkins a solution to include trick-or-treaters with autis

Blue pumpkins a solution to include trick-or-treaters with autism

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

You may see some blue pumpkins mixed in with the traditional orange buckets on Halloween this year. It's an innovative way to let people know not all trick-or-treaters are the same. 

If you happen to see someone holding a blue candy bucket at your doorstep, it could mean that person is autistic. 

"That can let you know if it's your home they're coming up to or your event that they're at that this is a child who might easily be overwhelmed by too many people, or may not be comfortable talking," Wes Dotson, Director for the Burkhart Center for Autism Education and Research, said. 

In some cases they might be non-verbal, meaning they probably won't say trick-or-treat like many are used to hearing. 

"Having autism, and other developmental disabilities as well, creates a difference in the way that they communicate," Dana Daniel, CEO of Caprock Behavioral Solutions, said. "They may use sign, they may use pictures, they may use gestures." 

She added it symbolizes more than just communicating to others. 

"It's the differences seen by family members, and possibly the way that they're treated when they're trick-or-treating. And the responses that they get from people that might not want to give them candy if they don't say trick-or-treat," Daniel said. "I think that our kids love Halloween and this sort of helps create that positive experience for them." 

If you do encounter someone one the spectrum, Dotson said being intentional makes all the difference. 

"One of the biggest things we can do when we're interacting with a child with autism is just speak clearly, talk to them like you would any other kids. Just understand they may not respond as quickly or with words in another way a kid will. And again, help them know what's going to happen," he said. 

Daniel said while the color blue helps raise awareness, it's also a way to encourage inclusion. 

"You know the Blue Pumpkin Campaign is great, but regardless of the color of your pumpkin, just the community awareness that all kids have differing abilities and including them in the festivities of everything going on," she said. 

Teal pumpkins are also another way trick-or-treaters are communicating. It's intended to indicate if some individuals have food allergies, like peanuts. 

 

 

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