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Sensory-Friendly Apple Picking

Updated: Oct 9, 2023

It's fall and if you're anything like us, you're dreaming of apples, pumpkins, leaves, and the perfect bonfire weather! While all of these activities are great, they sometimes pose challenges for our littlest friends. Apple picking on these gorgeous, early fall days can bring lots of crowds, noises and all the things that could lead to an uncomfortable environment. Check out these tips to make it a more enjoyable experience for all!

  1. INVOLVE YOUR CHILD: Research the different apple orchards you are considering and let your child help pick the destination. This will create excitement that they are an important part of planning the day.

  2. PICK A DAY AND TIME: Weekends will always be more crowded. If you can, plan the visit during the week when there are less people. If not, going first thing in the morning when the orchard opens will typically have less crowds.

  3. CREATE A SOCIAL STORY: Work with your kiddo to create a social story about what to expect during the day. For example, first we will wake up and get dressed. Then, we will drive to the orchard. When we get there we will purchase our apple bags and either walk or ride the wagon to the orchard. The more details you can prepare them with, the better they will be.

  4. SET REALISTIC GOALS: If you know crowds and noises are a challenge, do not expect your child to be able to pick apples AND participate in other orchard activities. Being able to leave on a positive note will help you to expand their tolerance the next time you venture to an activity like this.

  5. NOISE CANCELLING HEADPHONES: These are a big item to have at orchards, or other crowded/loud places, to help your kiddo block out the noise they are sensitive to.

  6. COMFORT ITEMS: Make sure your kiddo has at least 1 other comfort item with them. This could be their favorite stuffy, blanket, or even a snack.

  7. PRAISE: Make sure you give lots of praise!

HLC Therapy Group, LLC is a pediatric therapy provider offering speech, occupational, and physical therapy services in McHenry County and surrounding areas located in Lake in the Hills, IL.

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