The 3 Challenges For Parents Of Adult Children With Autism
4. Deal with the comedown.
Meltdowns are exhausting and troubling. Some people deal with them best by simply being alone. Adults with autism benefit by recognising in advance what makes it easiest for them to recover from a meltdown and having a strategy in place for the next time they have one.
5. Have coping strategies in place.
Sometimes, it’s not possible to avoid being in situations that are potentially going to trigger a meltdown. Perhaps someone has to deal with a barrage of emails, or be in a busy city centre, even though they’re already feeling burnt out. Instead of continuing to push themselves and hope for the best, it’s important to have strategies on hand for coping with sensory overload or emotional overwhelm.
Another client, Sarah, described how she used headphones whenever she was in crowded places. If I listen to music, I can shut off better from whats happening around me. It gives me something to focus on.
Personally, most of my meltdowns come on when I have too much information to deal with. Ive become very good at telling people that I simply cannot deal with whatever it is they want me to sort out at this current time. I also write lists and flow charts to help me prioritise what needs to be prioritised, so Im less likely to lose control.
Having a plan in place isnt going to stop the meltdowns, but it can help mitigate the fallout and help autistic adults, and others, normalise those meltdowns that are a part of their autistic experience.
How To Motivate Autistic Adults
Almost one in eight children aged 2-10 years in India suffer from a neuro-disorder that can include autism too.
Autism is a word that a lot of people would not like to hear when it comes to their loved ones especially adults. Its a sensitive topic and sometimes they dont even like talking about it. They tend to be in denial and would say that their adult is just delayed or something of that nature when in all reality, your loved one is what he or she is and you have to do the one thing that you can do, research and help your family and yourself cope with it.
In this post, we will take you through what is autism, its symptoms and causes, how to help someone with autism, and multiple other segments around the topic.
So, without further ado, lets begin
How To Calm An Autistic Child At School
Robert Garza calming routine
Also question is,What works almost every time to calm your autistic child?
Likewise, people ask,What is best way to calm an autistic child?
How to Calm an Autistic Child Quickly
- Noise cancelling headphones. Autistic meltdowns often occur in response to feelings of overwhelm, and since many individuals with autism are sensitive to noise, a pair of noise cancelling headphones could
- Deep pressure.
- Do nothing.
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How do you calm an autistic child in the classroom?
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If Someone Is Nonverbal
- Ask the individual or their caregiver how they prefer to communicate.
- Learn what assistive devices or techniques they may use. For example, visual schedule, iPad apps, text-to-speech or other voice assistant apps in which person touches something on their device to speak for them.
- Always look at the individual who you are trying to communicate with, not their caregiver. If you were using a translator for a person speaking a different language you would look at the person you want to communicate with, not the translator.
- Pair your verbal communication with gestures .
- If using an assistive device, give them enough time to type in their responses.
- Dont talk about them in front of them like they arent there.
- Always face them when talking to them even if they dont appear to be paying attention.
- Always communicate what you are doing even if you dont think they understand.
Work On Coping Mechanisms
Just as there are some things you can do to prepare before the inevitable blow-ups, there are often some after-action measures you can take to make things easier next time. Behavioral therapy is a common treatment for children with autism spectrum disorder. It uses a number of methods to teach helpful habits and skills, as well as a number of coping mechanisms for stressful situations.
There are other varieties of coping mechanisms that can help your child with autism as well. Many may be particular to a child, but there are a few that are common.
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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.
Will My Child Benefit From Deep Pressure Stimulation
As is true with many forms of therapy, each person responds to DPS differently.
One child might respond almost immediately, while another may require repeated attempts or longer sessions in order to see improvement.
Some children initially resist, but calm down after a few minutes and ultimately crave DPS.
The child who doesnt respond to hand hugs may show marked improvement in sleep with a weighted blanket.
Occupational therapists trained to work with sensory processing disorders can teach parents how to effectively use massage for their child, and this appointment may be covered by insurance.
If you are part of an autism support group you may be able to ask another parent if your child can experiment with their squeeze machine or roller or other large item before you shell out the cash on one more therapy module.
While Deep Pressure Stimulation wont work for everyone, and certainly isnt a cure for autism, it does provide needed relief for many families overwhelmed by the struggle to help their child experience calm.
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Empathize Instead Of Rationalize And Never Judge
When dealing with someone going through anxiety, it is crucial to be source of calm, protection, and support. Telling either a child or adult that they shouldnt be anxious because the thing they are afraid of isnt real or isnt going to happen does nothing to alleviate their fears during an episode of high anxiety. It is important to discuss the fears to overcome them, but during an episode is not the time to rationalize away the fear or make it seem trivial. The fear itself, caused by an anxiety disorder, is often irrational by nature so rationalizing it in that moment will only frustrate the person at best or close them off from seeking help at the worst. Any form of judgment will only make the individual more anxious about having an episode around that person again, which can dramatically increase the vicious cycle. Simply being a calming, reassuring presence is essential to help someone through an episode of anxiety or a panic attack. For someone with autism, pressure treatment may help others may need to be reassured verbally that everything will be okay. Each person will need help in his or her own manner, and it is essential to give that comfort and support during that time.
Learn During Calm Times
In neutral times, when your child is not upset, you can talk to them about ways to keep their emotions from flaring up. By learning to own their anxiety and frustration, they can get through it with a little patience or by taking things in smaller steps.
You can work with your child and their teachers regarding the best ways for them to learn to calm down.
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Invest In A Good Weighted Blanket
Weighted blankets can be very effective for children who have frequent meltdowns. These blankets apply mild pressure to the body, helping an anxious child calm down. In addition, the weights in the blankets help improve a childs body awareness which can reduce the severity of the meltdown. Alternatively, weighted vests give similar calming sensory feedback, and are a great option for summer and travel.
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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Always Have Sensory Tools Handy
Children on the autism spectrum often experience sensory overload in situations where there is a lot happening. Whether it is a concert with loud music and bright lights, or a discussion about dinner with a bunch of questions, feeling overwhelmed leads to distress. Difficulty communicating that feeling leads to more distress.
Sensory tools can help with those feelings. They are tools that focus on stimulating or removing stimulation, from one particular sense at a time. It might be noise-canceling headphones or a weighted vest. It could also be a fuzzy animal or even a chew toy.
These can help children on the autism spectrum as it is often soothing. It can also give them something to focus on other than their feelings of distress.
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Theres A Difference Between Forcing Behaviors And Encouraging Independence
Ive learned from experience that trying to force independence is counterintuitive, whether or not your child is autistic.
When we push a child, especially one prone to anxiety and rigidity, their natural instinct is to dig their heels in and hold on tighter.
When we force a child to face their fears, and I mean screaming-on-the-floor petrified, like Whitney Ellenby, the mother who wanted her autistic son to see Elmo, we arent actually helping them.
If I was forced into a room full of spiders, I would probably be able to detach from my brain at some point to cope after about 40 hours of screaming. That doesnt mean I had some kind of breakthrough or success in facing my fears.
I also assume Id store those traumas and theyd invariably be triggered later in my life.
Of course, pushing independence isnt always as extreme as the Elmo scenario or a room full of spiders. All of this pushing falls on a spectrum ranging from encouraging a hesitant child to physically forcing them into a scenario that has their brain screaming danger.
When we let our children get comfortable at their own pace and they finally take that step of their own volition, true confidence and security grows.
That said, I understand where the Elmo mom was coming from. We know our kids would enjoy whatever activity if they would just try it.
We want them to feel joy. We want them to be brave and full of confidence. We want them to fit in because we know what rejection feels like.
Instruct Us But Nicely
Are we offending you? Tell us. People with autism may experience avalanche-style misunderstandings. This hinders the formation and maintenance of lasting relationships, and can make for a very lonely life.
For us, cultivating social skills is imperative to bridging the gap of misunderstandings. We arent born with these skills, and some of us werent properly educated on social etiquette or coping mechanisms. Not knowing that stuff instinctively makes forming connections more difficult.
When were processing social cues, we might miss something and accidentally say something that comes off as stupid, mean, or offensive. Without those physical emotional cues to guide our response, were left with just the words, sometimes making it an awkward experience for a neurotypical.
To demonstrate the difficulties this imposes, try closing your eyes the next time somebody is talking to you. Itll give you an idea of how much were missing out on. Its believed that over half of all communication is nonverbal. If youre the neurotypical in the conversation, its your responsibility to make sure youre clear in your meaning. Letting us know if weve offended you will get an apology from us a lot faster than making an offended face at us.
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What To Do During A Very Loud Very Public Meltdown
When our child has a meltdown, parents often want to stop the tears because it hurts our hearts that our kids are struggling. Or were running low on patience and just want peace and quiet.
Many times, were coping with the fifth or sixth meltdown that morning over seemingly simple things like the tag in their shirt being too itchy, their sister talking too loudly, or a change in plans.
Autistic children arent crying, wailing, or flailing to get at us somehow.
Theyre crying because its what their bodies need to do in that moment to release tension and emotion from feeling overwhelmed with emotions or sensory stimulations.
Their brains are wired differently and so its how they interact with the world. Thats something we have to come to terms with as parents so we can support them in the best way.
So how can we effectively support our children through these often loud and thrashing meltdowns?
Ten Ways To Stay Calm
Once you recognize the signs of anxiousness, overload, or upset, try some of these ideas to keep a person calm.
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When To Use Calm Down Strategies For Kids
These activities can be used to keep your child or students calm and happy and to prevent stress and difficult behaviors. They can also be used as a response to a melt down or when you child or students behaviors start to get a little out of control.
The goal is to use this techniques and activities to avoid stress and also to deal with it when it presents itself.
Children On The Autism Spectrum Are Not Dumb
Kids with autism have the potential to be absolutely brilliant. Theyre also talented, philosophical, kind, and creative. This is something much of society fails to see, but in truth, the autistic mind is simply wired differently than those not on the Autism Spectrum. Hans Christian Andersen, Emily Dickinson, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Michelangelo, Mozart, and Sir Isaac Newton all are said to have exhibited autistic tendencies.
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Why Do We Need Calming Strategies For Kids With Autism
Calm down techniques are essential for instilling peace, harmony and joy in your home or classroom. Using calming activities for kids in the classroom is crucial for providing a calm, structured and relaxing environment for your students. Using calm down strategies at home, will make for a happier and more peaceful day for your child and the whole family.
Tantrums Meltdowns And Takeaways
Both tantrums and meltdowns are manifestations of difficulty with emotional regulation skills and if they persist beyond the stages of typical development, can be associated with other diagnoses like ADHD, autism, sensory processing dysfunction, learning disabilities, depression, and anxiety.
While tantrums are behavioral in nature, meltdowns have a sensory, physiological basis that warrants different management strategies. While neither are fun outbursts to experience, focus part of your energy on proactively supporting your childs emotional regulation.
In the moments of tantrum or meltdown, use the guidelines weve outlined above to find what works for your child, and please share with Harkla what management strategies work for you!
âAutistic Meltdown or Temper Tantrum? by Judy Endow, MSW.â Ollibean. N.p., 10 Nov. 2016. Web. 25 May 2017.
â26 Sensory Integration Tools for Meltdown Managementâ Friendship Circle â Special Needs Blog.â Friendship Circle â Special Needs Blog. N.p., 18 Nov. 2015. Web. 25 May 2017.
Bennett, David D. âDecreasing Tantrum/meltdown Behaviors of School Children with High Functioning Autism through Parent Training.â Social Science. N.p., 04 Feb. 2014. Web. 25 May 2017.
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