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How To Host for a Neurodiverse Child at a Party

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My friend’s 7-year-old son has a diagnosis of autism, and he was having the worst time at parties. He would run away crying and hide under a table. It broke my heart to think that any kid wouldn’t be able to enjoy parties, so I started doing research. I learned there is so much caregivers can do to make the party experiences better for their neurodivergent kids. In this blog post, we will look at many ways caregivers of neurodivergent kids can host fun and accommodating parties that help our kids feel comfortable and safe. Planning a party for neurodivergent kids might seem overwhelming, but with some simple tips, you can plan a party that your child and their friends enjoy.

Why Host a Party

Parties for neurodiverse kids can be a wonderful opportunity to practice social skills, make new friendships, and foster connections among parents. As someone who has hosted numerous events, I’ve witnessed firsthand how parties provide a sense of social belonging and alleviate feelings of loneliness. These gatherings are valuable for both children and parents, creating an environment of inclusivity and connection.

Determine Your Party Mission

Now that you know the benefits of hosting a party, consider the purpose of your gathering.

  • What are you trying to accomplish? 
  • Do you want your party or gathering to be purely social?
  • Will there be games or a theme?

By the way, there doesn’t have to be a theme! There are a lot of ways to structure a party. You can celebrate a birthday, a special event, or just gather simply to meet new people.

neuro divergent at a party. a class of kids play a game on the carpet.
Read More: Birthday Party Ideas & Tips for Neurodivergent Kids

Regardless of the purpose, certain structural elements like name tags and party icebreakers can are perfect for a neurodivergent at a party. They smooth social time, create less awkwardness and keep all your guests entertained. 

Choose A Sensible Location

You’ll want a family-friendly and fun location for all ages. Here are a few party venue ideas that work great for most occasions.

  • Your home
  • A library
  • Community center
  • Office space
  • Church room
  • School
  • Public park
  • Game room
  • Neighborhood common space 

Now that you’ve picked a suitable location, it is time to fill up your guest list.

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Send Invites to Your Meetup

Give a reason why other neurodiverse kids should join your event. Fortunately for you, there are plenty of reasons why they should come!

Having your kid meet other neurodiverse kids will help them develop their social skills and connect with new friends. For these kids, developing a sense of community will benefit them in all other areas of their life. Not to mention, you will meet other parents who are walking similar paths. A perfect way to connect with like-minded people!

The best way to start inviting guests is to reach out to everyone you know with neurodiverse kids. Create an RSVP page online using one of these online event platforms, such as Paperless Post, Mixily, or Partiful. Send it to everyone interested in the event. 

Prepare the Kids and the Parents

Make sure to clearly inform your guests about the structure of your event. On your RSVP page, mention that you will be wearing name tags, doing icebreakers, playing games, and whatever else you have planned for your event. Here are a few examples.

neuro divergent at a party. two boys play with playdough at a table.
Read more: 5 Autism Birthday Party Ideas

The more the parents can prepare for the event, the less overwhelmed they will feel. Plus it will make them excited to attend!

Keep it Short and Simple

When hosting a party for a neurodivergent at a party, it’s important to consider the duration of the event. Setting a start time and an end time, preferably around two hours, is recommended. This allows for greater attendance as it’s not a significant commitment and shows respect for your guests by providing a clear endpoint.

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Hosting a party for neurodivergent kids might have seemed daunting initially, but hopefully, this information helped you change that mindset. It just takes a bit of thought and planning to make sure everyone feels included and safe. Remember to communicate openly with your child, prepare the space thoughtfully, and be adaptable! Most importantly, focus on fostering a sense of fun and connection. You and your child deserve a celebration filled with joy, not stress!

FAQ’s About Neurodivergent at a Party

How can I make a party more comfortable for a neurodivergent child?
Offer quiet spaces for breaks, provide sensory-friendly activities, and keep the guest list small.

What are some sensory-friendly party ideas?
Think calming activities like playdough, water play, or building with blocks. Avoid loud music and flashing lights.

How can I prepare my neurodivergent child for a party?
Talk about what to expect, create a visual schedule of the party events, and practice social skills beforehand.

What should I do if my neurodivergent child gets overwhelmed at a party?
Have a designated quiet space ready. Let your child take a break and reassure them that it's okay to feel overwhelmed.

How can I help other guests understand my neurodivergent child's needs?
Briefly explain your child's diagnosis and potential triggers. Encourage guests to be patient and understanding.

This post was originally published on 12/13/2022. It was updated on 02/22/2024.

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