Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and while many will celebrate with loved ones, and kids in school will exchange cards, children with autism may see this holiday in a different light.

As you probably know, autism symptoms in children vary widely. Still, many children might struggle with Valentine’s Day because it’s characterized by things like:

  •  Commotion
  • Extra work to assimilate
  • Lots of emotional signals and exchanges
  • OCD triggers
  • Colloquial language

It can be heartbreaking to watch children with autism struggle on this holiday, especially if they were looking forward to it.

So whether you have a son or daughter with autism or you are a teacher that has children with autism in your class, here are some things to consider:

Living with autism obviously comes with a number of challenges, but a difficulty understanding colloquial language is one that could probably use more attention.

A child with literal thinking autism who hears something like “Be my Valentine” could feel unsettled or confused. This combination of abstract thinking and emotion can be overwhelming or misunderstood.

The same can be said for all of the emotional components of the holiday.Social skills for kids with autism can often be a problem area because the way they process emotions tends to be a bit different than the way that neurotypical children do. To see classmates and friends erupt in emotion on Valentine’s Day (even if it’s really just a love of candy that they’re celebrating), especially in such a loud and hyperactive way, can also be very disquieting to them.

Finally, Valentine’s Day can easily trigger the obsessive behaviors of many children with autism. For example, your child may want to organize their Valentines in a particular way, or they might exhibit obsessive behaviors during classroom celebrations.

For more information on topics like these, check out our other articles on autism. You might also find it helpful to browse our helpful videos that delve into many related topics. Obviously, you can always contact us directly with questions as well. Just set up a time to visit by calling 503-981-5348.