How to Take an Autistic Child to a Party

Two Parts:Being PreparedReducing Anxieties

Is your autistic child going to a party but feeling intimidated? If so, here are a few tips to comfort the child as you take them to the party.

Part 1
Being Prepared

  1. 1
    Form an action plan for meltdowns, shutdowns, and sensory overload. Consider talking to the host's parent(s) or guardian(s) about what your child's warning signs are, so that if they notice that your child is beginning to get overwhelmed, they can step in and have your child take a break.
    • Talk to your child and choose an adult your child can tell if they notice they are feeling overwhelmed or if something else is wrong. It can help to have a "safety person" they know they can reach out to if there is a problem.
  2. 2
    Let them take a small bag or backpack to hold important items. This way, they can carry stim toys, medications, AAC cards, and/or comfort objects. Write their name on the bag, and tell them to show it to the adults in case they need help finding it later.
    • If they're using something from the bag, they should keep the bag with them and put the item back in it when they are done. This will lower the chance of something getting lost.
    • The bag can also keep any party favors they receive.
  3. 3
    Have a clear plan for how they can contact you when it's time for you to pick them up. It's possible that your child will want to leave early, and many parties may take a shorter or longer time than planned. Go over the plan with your child so that they feel prepared.
    • Does your child reliably remember your phone number? If not, do the adults at the party know it, or could you put it in the bag?
    • Will your child carry a phone? If not, whose phone can they use?
    • Will you have a phone with you so you can get the message?

Part 2
Reducing Anxieties

Social situations can be confusing or scary for autistic children, especially ones who also have social anxiety. Here is how to make it less intimidating.

  1. 1
    Discuss the details of the party with your child. Your child will feel more prepared if they already have a general sense of what is going to happen. Read the invitation with them, and tell them about how many guests there will be, what the setting is, what they'll eat, and other things.
  2. 2
    Take time to consider and talk through any of your child's fears. Does your child have any worries about handling the party? How can you assuage these fears? Should you call the host's parents to ensure that:
    • If they are afraid of dealing with people they don't know, you can either assure them that the party is full or people they know, or say that the unfamiliar people are friends of their friends, and they can stick with the friends they already know if they prefer.
    • If they are afraid of being exposed to alcohol, assure them that there will be a chaperone. You can also teach them the phrase "No thanks, I don't drink" so that they know they're prepared even if the worst case happens.
  3. 3
    Assuage fears about social awkwardness. Explain that most people feel awkward sometimes, so they will be able to relate if they see your child feeling awkward and uncertain. This feeling is more common than they might think, and others will most likely respond with understanding rather than judgment. After all, they can remember times when they felt awkward too.
  4. 4
    Walk your child in to the party if they'd like. You will be the one who the people will look at when they walk in, not them, hopefully comforting your child.
  5. 5
    Let them know that they're in control. Whom they talk to is their choice, and they can engage with other children as much as they feel comfortable. Assure them that they can talk to adults as needed, and that they can leave early if that is what they want. Knowing that they can choose what they feel is best for them can help them feel confident at the party and enjoy their time.


  • If you receive an invitation from your child, take it out and read it, and take into consideration the time your child is supposed to be at the party.
  • Use materials such as social stories about going to parties to help with preparing your child better for the experience.


  • If your child must walk or ride a bike towards where the party is, and you have to be away from him/her, tell him he/she will have to do it, but also tell them to watch out for the vehicles and other dangerous obstacles that'll await them on the main road. You should also be sure your child knows how to handle riding a bike or walking by themselves.
  • You will be held responsible if your child is late to the party and you took them there.
  • Don't take the time to explain any details about the party that your child already knows. Just because a child is autistic doesn't mean they won't get annoyed if you treat them condescendingly. Instead, adjust these steps to suit your child's particular needs.

Article Info

Categories: Interacting with Autistic People | Parties for Children