How Do I Get My Autistic Child To Stop Pinching
If your autistic child recurrently starts pinching, it may be because this behaviour has been reinforced through attention or getting something they want/to need. The idea is to minimize the reward by approaching the child without making any eye contact. Dont reprimand or say anything other than stating the rule use your hands, no pinching. Then take your child somewhere they can take a break from others.
What Causes Meltdowns In Autism
There are many potential reasons to explain why a meltdown in autism happens, such as a change in their usual routine, bright light or loud sound. An autistic persons brain is wired differently so many times their brain goes into hyperdrive when they are having a meltdown since they can have sensory overloads.
Calm The Child With Beautiful Scenery
Its commonly agreed that visual aids for autism can help autistic children who struggle to settle for bed. Sleep deprivation will affect a childs mood, as it will a parents ability to help them. If you struggle for hours at a time to help your child to settle, as visual aids are the perfect solution.
Being highly sensitive to sensory perception, autistic children will benefit greatly from 4K HD videos of relaxing streams or idyllic beaches. In a matter of minutes, a soothing calmness with wash over them, allowing them to drift away into the quiet recess of slumber.
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Im Not Someone To Pity Simply Because My Child Has Autism
Autistic children are writing books, making films, creating blogs, and making all sorts of other groundbreaking achievements. Yet, when a parent tells someone their child is autistic, they are usually met with an unnecessary apology or look of pity. Autism is not something to be pitied, and our societys outlook should change to reflect that.
Work With Their Parents/carers
Parents and carers are the true experts on their autistic children. To fully support the child in and out of school, you should therefore coordinate and share knowledge with them. Both of you can suggest interventions that have worked at home or in school for the child and can integrate these into their routine.
Not only will building a relationship benefit the autistic child, but it will also help the parents and carers feel at ease about their childs education. Your commitment to working with them will build their confidence in the schools ability to support their child.
You Cant Always See Autism
There is still a shocking amount of ignorance among the general population when it comes to the Autism Spectrum. Many people assume that children with autism have certain identifiable facial features or particular habits. But as it has already has been mentioned, every single person with autism is different and mild cases of autism are common. These stereotypes and lack of understanding often make things difficult for parents. Its especially hard in the case of schools, coaches, or other organizations who deny a diagnosis because it is not easily seen.
Ways To Help Your Child Or Young Person
- Keep a diary to help them to explore their feelings. Log what makes them feel anxious so that you can understand the triggers.
- Use visuals and plans to help your childs understanding of their feelings. This can lessen the impact of changes and reduce uncertainty.
- Look at your childs environment. Are there ways that you could adapt it together to make it less stressful?
- Think about calming strategies and activities that your child can use. You could try using a fidget spinner or watching animal videos. Some children might find yoga, meditation or colouring can help. Others might benefit from physical exercise.
- Use apps. Molehill Mountain is an app to help people with ASD to understand and self-manage anxiety. Brain in Hand is not specific to any condition. Its for anyone who finds anxiety or unexpected events can disrupt their day.
- Try counselling or CAMHS services. Talk to your GP about whether this would be a helpful route to take. They may be able to direct you to extra support and refer you to mental health services.
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How Do I Discipline A Child With Autism And Adhd
Children with autism respond to clear, short directives in the moment. Help set them up for success by praising desired behaviors, establishing regular routines, and avoiding tantrum-triggering environments. These techniques, which avoid harsh discipline, work well with children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder , tooand all kids, generally.
Try Distracting Your Child
This will only work if you spot the tell-tale signs of a meltdown before your child loses complete control. You can distract your child by doing anything which makes your child happy. The aim is to focus on something which is comforting but not over-stimulating. This could include something like making silly faces or singing your childs favorite song.
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Tip : Guided Meditation
Not all children with autism will react positively to these types of techniques but many may get a lot out of mindfulness techniques for emotional regulation. If you notice your childs behaviour gets worse instead of better then look for environmental cues about what is causing your childs distress such as turning the light off or turning the music down.
Whats The Difference Between A Meltdown And A Tantrum
A good place to start is by understanding the difference between a sensory meltdown and a tantrum. The two are easily confused which is why many dismiss meltdowns as nothing more than a badly behaved childs cry for attention. This couldnt be further from the truth.
Tantrums are behavioural outbursts which are a deliberate attempt to get something. A child could have a tantrum for many different reasons. They could, for example, want their parents attention or perhaps they want their parents to buy a specific toy. Unlike meltdowns, a child having a tantrum is in control of their behavior, and will most likely stop acting out when they get what they want. Tantrums and meltdowns are very different and cannot be handled in the same way. By simply dismissing a meltdown as a petulant child acting out, you can cause severe harm to a child with special needs.
We put together some tips which may help you calm your special child during these trying times. But remember, what calms one child with special needs may not work for another. The important thing is to be understanding, patient and loving. That is after all what a child needs most during a sensory meltdown.
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Calming Activities For Autism
Managing autistic meltdowns isnt always easy, especially since each childs triggers are so different and the calming strategies that work for one child may not work for another, but incorporating different calming activities for autism into your routine is a great way to teach your child effective coping strategies.
Mindful breathing. When a meltdown is starting to brew, your childs breathing pattern will change. Often, he or she will begin taking short, fast, shallow breaths, which can make them feel even more overwhelmed than they are already feeling. Mindful breathing is a great tool you can use to teach your child to use when their emotions threaten to take over their bodies. There are many different techniques you can try, and I suggest starting with the Bubbling Blowing Technique. When your child is calm, give him or her a small container of bubbles so he or she can practice blowing bubbles with a wand. You child will quickly learn that if he or she blows too hard or too fast, the bubble will burst before it has time to take shape. But by blowing slowly and with purpose, he or she can blow a perfect bubble. Have your child practice the technique with real bubbles before removing the bubbles and letting him or her use only his or her imagination. Once this skill is learned, you can ask your child to blow pretend bubbles when you sense your child feeling overwhelmed.
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Calming Strategies For Autism Meltdowns
Now, before I jump into these strategies, I have a word of warning.
Please dont do all of these immediately when your child starts a meltdown.
You need to know what works for your child, and what their sensory preferences are.
Not every strategy will work for every child, so test them out one at a time to see what works best for your child.
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How To Calm An Autistic Child
Techniques for avoiding and managing meltdowns by Lisa Jo Rudy
Autistic Children can have a tough time managing their behavior. Even high functioning children can meltdown in situations that would be only mildly challenging to a typical peer. Children with more severe symptoms can get very upset on a daily basis. Meltdowns and anxiety can make it very hard to participate in typical activities or, in some extreme cases, to even leave the house.
Its not always easy to calm an Autistic child, but there are techniques that can often be successful. Some require a bit of extra equipment that offers sensory comfort. Some of these items can be used in settings like school or community venues. If they work well, theyre worth their weight in gold.
Two Words: Gentle Consistency
Children with autism pick up on things differently than other children. For example, your child may not pick up on the irritation in your voice when you ask them not to do something.
These misunderstandings can make traditional discipline techniques less effective. Your child might not understand the consequences of their actions, which can be frustrating. However, you should refrain from any kind of physical or verbal punishment that could have a negative effect on your child.
Instead, be gentle with your words and actions. If your child is screaming and having a tantrum, keep calm and dont raise your voice. All children learn through imitation, so try and respond to your childs behavior clearly and gently.
And now for consistency. Consistency is the key to safe, effective discipline. Most children with autism respond well to structured discipline, perhaps due to their desire for sameness and routine.
Consistent discipline can also alleviate some of your childs anxiety, a common characteristic of autism. Consistent outcomes help children feel secure and confident in their choices.
If your child knows what to expect from a certain behavior , they may not feel as overwhelmed when you discipline them.
In other words, consistency gives your child the ability to predict the outcome of a situation, which is a powerful and necessary step toward independence.
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Autism Meltdown Strategies For Children
Youve heard the saying: When youve met a child with autism, youve met one child with autism.
Because every autistic child presents differently, with varied skills, levels of relatedness, communication, and sensory processing profiles, it is impossible to have a one-solution-fits-all approach to managing meltdowns.
The following are some tips and strategies that have helped other parents, but you will have to consider these in terms of your individual childs needs.
Wed all like to avoid meltdowns completely, but thats not possible. Instead, some parents find it helpful to put strategies in place to minimize the stress and anxiety of daily life that may contribute to a meltdown. This is typically referred to as a sensory diet and can be beneficial in preventing and managing autism meltdowns.
Some common ones that support regulation across the day:
- Visual schedules
- Check off lists
- Activity or task schedules
- Routine sensory diet activities, for example, using a weighted blanket during sleep, engaging in deep pressure activities at certain times in the daily routine, etc.
Some parents find it helpful to schedule quiet time for their child, in order to allow for the downtime proactively before the activity of the day gets to be too much. Building in a surprise or question mark to visual schedules helps to shape behavioral responses to unexpected changes in routines that are often stressful.
Im Not An Autism Expert
If you want to learn more about autism and what its like to be autistic, there is one reliable source: a person on the Autism Spectrum. Parents of autistic children can tell you what it is like to live with a person on the Spectrum. They are experts on their own child. But the only person who can tell you what its like to live with autism is an autistic person himself.
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Autism Causes The Brain To Process Things Differently
Children on the Autism Spectrum process differently things others often take for granted. Crowds, loud noises, and bright or blinking lights, among countless other things, can often lead to extreme anxiety or a total meltdown on the part of the child. As one parent of an autistic child stated, If you are in a supermarket and your child is getting overwhelmed and maybe making a scene, it makes it ten times worse when people around you are giving you dirty looks or making comments.
Board Games With A Twist
Teaching children manners can be a helpful way to boost social skills and explain the importance of being polite. This simple, but effective activity puts an etiquette-related twist on a simple game of chess, checkers, or mancala by requiring players to wish their opponent good luck or good game before and after they have played.
Follow these tips to help de-escalating sensory meltdowns in the future
Come up with a signal If your son or daughter is in a classroom environment or at home come up with a signal so that you know they are beginning to have a meltdown.
Schedule in breaks In my opinion the school days are long enough so why not schedule in breaks for the special needs classrooms for 10 min breaks? Even when your kids are home let them take breaks before the next even or task.
Keep calm and cool I dont know if you like to be yelled at by your boss at work? But kids in general dont like getting yelled at by their hot headed parents even the kids who have Autism. Always remain calm and cool.
Make sure you pay attention Everyone likes when everyone pays attention to them when they are talking. Even if it takes your son or daughter a few extra mins to finish a thought, dont interrupt them.
Setup a reward system Everyone likes being rewarded, even at work. Its like when you get your promotion at your job. When your son or daughter does something good setup a reward system.
I think the first one should be on the list on how to calm an autistic child list.
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Provide An Escape From Sensory Overload
Classroom bodies can become too much at times for the student with autism. Set up an area for them to escape for quiet, such as a back corner of the classroom. Stock ear plugs, headphones, or weighted blankets for them to grab a moment of quiet.
Try out a few of these strategies to help your students with autism stay calm in the classroom. However, keep in mind that every childwith or without ASD is unique in their own way. Adjust your techniques as needed to best suit the individual needs of your students.
Work Out Those Worries
Melissa St. John is owner and founder of Meli Music, a private music therapy company that provides services around the greater Los Angeles area. PHOTO COURTESY JOSH ROMINE
Finding a form of exercise that fits your childs abilities and interests can provide a calming experience or an outlet for excessive energy.
Some children with autism, or those with sensory systems that arent giving them adequate information, enjoy the feel of water. Water has a very calming effect, especially warmer water, says Alethea Crespo, director of therapy programs at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center.
Or play could be more active. Sue Trautman, co-owner of the Center for Developing Kids in Pasadena, recommends purposeful play such as kicking around a ball. Or, says Crespo, a parent could pretend-joust with their Star Wars lightsaber-wielding child. While a child runs around shouting Im Luke Skywalker! theyre improving their agility and getting exercise in a fun, child-directed activity.
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My Autistic Child Is Not Trying To Be Difficult
As one parent stated about her autistic son on the popular website Baby Gaga, He isnt giving us a hard time. Hes having a hard time. No child on the Autism Spectrum is trying to behave badly when they experience a meltdown. The biology of autism is complicated and extensive, and much of it cannot even be tested for medically. Children on the Autism Spectrum have trouble with their methylation pathways. Their intestinal tracts do not absorb nutrients well. This impairs their immune system and guts, which then leads to issues in the brain. Because the brain and body of an autistic child do not always work as one, they have to express their pain and frustration in the form of things like meltdowns.
A Temper Tantrum Is Not An Autism Meltdown
A temper tantrum usually occurs when a child is denied what they want to have or what they want to do.
Parents observe many tantrums during the terrible twos. This occurs when young children are developing problem-solving skills and beginning to assert their independence.
In fact, this terrible twos stage is typically experienced between 12 months through 4 years old!
When you look at why temper tantrums occur at this stage, it is important to consider typical development and why toddlers are so easily frustrated:
- Emerging desire to become independent, but limited motor skills and cognitive skills make it impossible to actually BE independent.
- Emerging, developing language skills make communicating wants/needs frustrating.
- The prefrontal cortex of the brain has not yet developed – this is the brain center responsible for emotional regulation and social behavior – so they do not have the ability to regulate!
- Toddlers are developing an understanding of their world, and its often anxiety-producing. This anxiety and lack of control often result in tantrums when it all gets to be too much to manage.
A hallmark of a tantrum is that the behavior will usually persist if the child gains attention for his behavior, but will subside when ignored.
When parents give in to tantrum outbursts, children are more likely to repeat the behavior the next time they are denied what they want or need.
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