Calming Techniques for Children with Autism
Parenting children with Autism can be exceptionally challenging at times, especially during a meltdown. Meltdowns can be quite scary for both you and your child, but learning what calming techniques work best for your child can greatly help to calm them during a meltdown and hopefully prevent some from happening. It is important to understand that every child is different and techniques that work for some may not work for you, keep trying different approaches and you will find what works best for your child.
One of the best things you can do to reduce stress is to be prepared for whatever stressful situations might come your way. Identifying what triggers your child will help you to avoid some meltdowns and also help you recognize the warning signs when they occur.
Establishing a routine for children with autism is crucial; they like knowing what to expect and it helps to keep them from worrying about what will come next. If you are going to introduce a new activity, talk your child through the activity first and let them know step by step what will happen. Minimize introducing too many new activities or changes to their daily routines. Having a routine and knowing what to expect will reduce stress and anxiety.
It is important for you to remain calm during a meltdown, as his or her behavior is likely to trigger emotions in you. If you become stressed or upset, this will only make the situation worse and harder to calm your child down. When a meltdown occurs, try to stay calm; take deep breaths and assess the situation. It is best to move as slowly as possible and talk in a soft, calm voice.
Practice slow, deep breathing when your child is calm, so that when a meltdown occurs your child will know how to use these techniques to calm him or herself. Using deep breathing techniques gives your child something to focus on and helps them to ignore stimuli.
Applying deep pressure helps rid the body of muscle tension and helps children with autism feel calm and relaxed. Wrapping in a weighted blanket, massaging, and firm hugs are all ways of applying deep pressure and helps him or her become more aware of their body and reduce anxiety.
Emergency Meltdown Kit
Put together a well-stocked kit to keep with you at all times! Fill it with things like your child’s favorite toy, noise cancelling headphones, weighted blanket, stress ball and calming aromatherapy oils. These things can all help to distract your child in a stressful situation or to calm them down during a meltdown.
April is Autism Awareness Month. To learn more about Autism please visit https://www.autismspeaks.org/