AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — Fireworks are a Fourth of July staple some wait all year to see, but they aren’t a welcomed sight for everyone.
We are often reminded about our veterans and pets who may be sensitive to the sights and sounds, but one store in Aurora is looking out for another group of people who may be sensitive to the light shows.
“Fourth of July, in particular, is something I think this community has a mixed relationship with,” said Shannon Sullivan. She is the co-founder of the Autism Community Store in Aurora. She said the holiday can be tough on families living with autism.
“On one hand, it has all these lights and it’s really captivating and it could be something our kids are interested in seeing — or adults, for that matter — but then the experience of that could be challenging because of the sounds and the crowds and all this doubt that comes in because of who might be around me,” Sullivan said.
A parent of a child with autism herself, Sullivan came up with a more inclusive way to celebrate.
“It was kind of a natural thing. I sort of imagined it and thought, ‘I think we’re going to be able to see the Aurora fireworks from here, and sure enough, we do. We have a great view,” Sullivan said.
Families can come out to the store to watch the display from their back porch or inside, where they stay in a safe space for those who need it.
“It’s a space where people can just come to try to decompress if things are too challenging for them. This will be available for anyone on the Fourth of July who needs to use it,” Sullivan said.
It is a relief for parents like Cindy Deger.
“My son is 19 and has autism. We’ve tried many Fourth of July activities, and it usually ends poorly,” Deger said.
The store was not able to have the show last year due to the pandemic, but Deger said this year will have a tough act to follow after the first event in 2019.
“He was able to come and go. We were outside a lot. He would come into the sensory cave and hang out there. Then when the fireworks started, he came outside. So, it was truly one of the most enjoyable Fourth of Julys we ever had,” Deger said.
You and your family can visit the store on East Exposition Avenue in Aurora. Their viewing party starts at 7:30 p.m. Sunday and lasts until 10 p.m. The fireworks show in Aurora is set to start at 9:30.