June 30, 2022 By CDHD How to celebrate an accessible Fourth of July The Fourth of July is the peak of summer fun for families across the US. BBQs, fireworks, parties – it’s easy to see why so many count this among their favorite holidays. As we all get together to celebrate the day, make sure your gathering is safe and fun for everyone with these quick and easy tips on how to make the Fourth of July more accessible. Food BBQs, picnics in the park, potlucks – no matter how you serve it, food is a big part of celebrating the Fourth. When pulling together your menu or planning a dish for the family potluck, consider those who may have allergies or physical disabilities that prevent them from enjoying certain foods. Before you start cooking, check in with your guests (or your hosts) to see if there are any foods or ingredients that should be avoided (or included). Taking this step goes a long way in making everyone feel included. Accessible areas From backyards to local parks, there are plenty of spots to put on the perfect Fourth of July party. Before you settle on your location, consider the accessibility of the area. Steps, slopes or uneven ground can make it difficult for people with disabilities to participate in all the fun. Obstacles like rocks, tall grass or other objects can also be tricky. Choose an open area with clear, flat pathways to ensure everyone can easily get to and navigate around the party. Shade and water Speaking of locations, don’t forget to check if there are any shaded areas. While fair weather means more outdoor fun, too much sun can really spoil the party. July is the hottest month for many US states, so don’t forget to choose a celebration spot that offers trees, shade cloths or shelters. Don’t forget the sunscreen and bring plenty of water to prevent dehydration. Accessible activities If you’re planning on filling your day with activities, make sure you choose some that are accessible for everyone. Whether you’re thinking of young children or friends with disabilities, there are many reasons to consider the physical requirements of outdoor fun. We’ve put together some cool ideas that are great for all abilities. Camping, hiking, sports – they’re all on the list. Or, a few simple adaptations to your family’s favorite games can often make them suitable for all ages and abilities. Sensory sensitivity Fourth of July fireworks are often the grand finale when it comes to celebrating the holiday. Just keep in mind that some people have sensory sensitivities. This means that loud noises and flashing lights can be overwhelming or lead to migraines or seizures. Loud bangs may also be distressing for some service or support animals. If you’re planning to set off fireworks, consider those around you. Take one or more of the following steps to help ensure everyone’s holiday is happy: Follow all local ordinances and guidance regarding fireworks and noise. Speak with your neighbors ahead of time so they can make any necessary arrangements. Be mindful of very loud bangs, whistles, and flashing lights/strobe effects. Wrap up your festivities at a reasonable time. Clean up any debris after you’re finished.