Wednesday, June 15, 2022

How To Tire Out An Autistic Child

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Outdoor Sports For Constant Activity

Boyd’s Speedway organizers use leftover tires to create tire swings for autistic children

Outdoor sports like football, basketball, volleyball, baseball, and badminton are great games for hyperactive kids as there is no standing around time in these games.

Your children will be constantly moving and using large muscle groups, keeping them focused and energy-drained. They also get to learn about team spirit, sportsmanship, and competition.

However, if you cant put them for any outdoor sports, make them take up running, which offers constant movement, health benefits, and a sense of accomplishment.

A Parents Guide To Autism Treatment And Support

If youve recently learned that your child has or might have autism spectrum disorder, youre probably wondering and worrying about what comes next. No parent is ever prepared to hear that a child is anything other than happy and healthy, and an ASD diagnosis can be particularly frightening. You may be unsure about how to best help your child, or confused by conflicting treatment advice. Or you may have been told that ASD is an incurable, lifelong condition, leaving you concerned that nothing you do will make a difference.

While it is true that ASD is not something a person simply grows out of, there are many treatments that can help children acquire new skills and overcome a wide variety of developmental challenges. From free government services to in-home behavioral therapy and school-based programs, assistance is available to meet your childs special needs and help them learn, grow, and thrive in life.

When youre looking after a child with ASD, its also important to take care of yourself. Being emotionally strong allows you to be the best parent you can be to your child in need. These parenting tips can help by making life with an autistic child easier.

Use An Emotions Chart

Using a visual aid, such as an emotions chart featuring happy, sad, angry and tired faces can help your child identify their feelings at any given time. Use these discussion opportunities to highlight appropriate reactions to specific situations. Acknowledge that regulating our emotions is hard, but there are strategies that can help.

As the child starts to build confidence, gradually increase the number of emotions on the display. It is also useful to label emotions in a range of other contexts, such as when reading a picture book and pointing to a character to confirm: Tom is smiling. Hes happy.

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How To Sleep Better For Autistic Children: Tips

The tips below can help all children, including autistic children, sleep better. They help children develop healthy daytime and bedtime habits that promote sleep.

If your autistic child has particular problems with falling asleep and waking in the night and these tips dont seem to be working after 2-4 weeks, its a good idea to seek help. Talk with your doctor or another health professional about the best strategies for your situation.

Keep The Bedroom Cool

Autism Swing

Your child may not be able to tell you if they feel too cool or too warm, but sleep experts indicate that a cool bedroom promotes sound sleep. Optimal bedroom temperatures range from 65° 67° F. If your child cannot tolerate bed clothes or covers, you will want to raise the heat a bit but no higher than around 75° F.

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How To Recognize Reactions

Just as it’s challenging to predict the response of an autistic person, it can also be difficult to interpret autistic reactions to difficult emotions as these reactions may take different forms.

In some cases, reactions take the form of major temper tantrums, but other reactions can look very different. For example, they might take the form of:

  • Screeching or other noise-making
  • Bolting or eloping
  • Intensive self-stimulation
  • Self-aggression
  • Aggression toward others
  • Sensory avoidance
  • Sensory seeking behavior
  • Refusal to engage
  • Compulsive behaviors such as touching the same objects in the same order over and over again

Some of these behaviors are actually attempts to self-calm. Others are simply physical manifestations of internal upset.

Avoid Caffeine And Fat

This is probably really obvious, but avoid giving your child caffeine before bedtime. This includes drinks, food, and snacks such as chocolate. Caffeine is a stimulant and will have pretty much the same effects as screen time will. It will also make your child have to use the bathroom more in the middle of the night. This can be considered as the ultimate stimulant and can keep them awake for hours. Before you give your child anything before bed, look at the caffeine content on the package.

Fats

Another thing you should look at is the fat content. This is something that should be limited in our diets as well. It isnt good for us in large quantities and can lead to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and issues with weight. This takes longer to process in the digestive system than other foods and can keep a child awake longer if eaten close to bedtime.

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Recovering From Autistic Burnout

There is limited research on recovery from autistic burnout. An autistic persons abilities will often come back, but some skills may take longer to return than others. Some skills may not return to the level they were at before.

A persons prognosis depends on a lot of factors. For example, a teenager who experiences burnout due to a temporary stressor may have briefer, milder symptoms than a middle-aged person who has forced themself to mask for over 30 years. People who push themselves to the point of burnout year after year are likely to have more severe skill loss than those who have a one-time episode and get immediate support.

If you are a caregiver of an autistic child, it is highly recommended that you visit a child psychologist. Early therapeutic interventions can improve a childs long-term abilities to communicate and cope with stress. A mental health professional can also help you create a home environment that matches your childs sensory needs. You may also wish to see a family therapist to discuss any concerns you may have about the future.

If you are an adult experiencing autistic burnout, you may benefit from individual therapy. A therapist can help you advocate for your needs with coworkers, friends, and family members. A therapist can also teach you meditation and other coping skills for stress. If you have clinical anxiety or depression , therapy can treat those diagnoses.

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Autistic Burnout: An Often

O’Fallon, Missouri fights to remove tire retaining wall for child with autism

During an autistic persons life, there may be times when they seem to lose skills or show more obvious signs of autism. For example, a toddler who had a vocabulary of a dozen words may stop talking altogether. A social teenager may find it harder to make appropriate eye contact or take turns in conversation, despite having learned these skills as a child.

This phenomenon is called autistic burnout . Autistic burnout can be very distressing for the autistic individual and their family, especially if they dont know what is happening. However, it is important to note that autistic burnout is not necessarily an omen of permanent regression or skill loss. Recovery is possible.

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Sleep And Autismadvice & Support For:

In these guides, we look at some reasons why some autistic people may struggle with sleep and some ways to address this.

Autistic people can often have trouble sleeping. There are a range of reasons for this including difficulties with relaxing or winding down and irregular melatonin levels.

Problems with sleep can be an issue for both autistic adults and children. It can also be disruptive for the parents of autistic children who can find their own sleep is affected.

In these guides, we look at some reasons why some autistic people may struggle with sleep and some ways to address this.

This page gives you an overview. For more information, select from the menu above or the guide links below.

Sleep Is Critical To Health

“Without sleep nothing else goes right, really,” says Professor Sarah Blunden, a psychologist and head of paediatric sleep research at Central Queensland University.

“It’s much more difficult to control your emotions, to understand, to learn, to memorise, to concentrate, to regulate your behaviour. All these things that children have challenges with anyway, a child with autism has double-whammy.”

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Helping Your Child With Autism Get A Good Night’s Sleep

Stephanie Watson Dan Brennan, MD

During the first few months of life, babies ease into a normal cycle of sleep and wakefulness. They gradually reduce the number of daytime naps they need and start sleeping for longer periods of time at night. But some children continue to have difficulty falling asleep or sleeping through the night, and the problem can persist long after children start school.

Sleep disorders may be even more common in children with autism spectrum disorders. Researchers estimate that between 40% and 80% of children with ASD have difficulty sleeping. The biggest sleep problems among these children include:

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Restlessness or poor sleep quality
  • Waking early and waking frequently

A lack of a good night’s sleep can affect not only the child but everyone in their family. If you’re bleary-eyed from night after night of waking up with your child, there are a number of lifestyle interventions and sleep aids that can help.

A Special Autism Bed Tent

The kids trying out the swings daddy built for them ...

Companies are now making enclosed beds, or bed tents, which provide a contained, cozy, safe space for sleep.

There are many styles separate free standing units, pop-up types that rest on top of the mattress and after-market canopies that strap to the bed frame itself. Some are inflatable, portable and easy to assemble.

You can find bed tents with varying safety measures built in to prevent elopement.

Some of these beds for autism can be bolted to the floor, or easily moved within the room, while others allow more flexibility for travel, allowing families to potentially spend a night in a hotel, or at grandmas house.

If you really want a top of the line bed, the company to check out is Cubby Beds! They create “smart beds” that has almost all of the features a parent could want for their child with autism.

Their beds have circadian lights built into them to help mimic natural lighting, soothing speakers for a calming environment, and even a monitoring camera!

Since these are top of the line, the price is pretty high, but they do a great job working with insurance companies to get a decent portion of the bed covered.

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Dont Wait For A Diagnosis

As the parent of a child with ASD or related developmental delays, the best thing you can do is to start treatment right away. Seek help as soon as you suspect somethings wrong. Dont wait to see if your child will catch up later or outgrow the problem. Dont even wait for an official diagnosis. The earlier children with autism spectrum disorder get help, the greater their chance of treatment success. Early intervention is the most effective way to speed up your childs development and reduce the symptoms of autism over the lifespan.

When your child has autism

Learn about autism. The more you know about autism spectrum disorder, the better equipped youll be to make informed decisions for your child. Educate yourself about the treatment options, ask questions, and participate in all treatment decisions.

Become an expert on your child. Figure out what triggers your kids challenging or disruptive behaviors and what elicits a positive response. What does your child find stressful or frightening? Calming? Uncomfortable? Enjoyable? If you understand what affects your child, youll be better at troubleshooting problems and preventing or modifying situations that cause difficulties.

Dont give up. Its impossible to predict the course of autism spectrum disorder. Dont jump to conclusions about what life is going to be like for your child. Like everyone else, people with autism have an entire lifetime to grow and develop their abilities.

Why Does Autistic Burnout Happen

Like other types of overwhelm, autistic burnout occurs when lifes challenges exceed a persons resources. Perhaps a person is undergoing a stressful life transition or they may have been pushing themselves too hard for too long. Regardless, the coping mechanisms they had been using are no longer enough. Certain skills and abilities shut down temporarily as the brain recovers. The brain may take a while to remember these skills as the person adapts to their new situation.

Research into autistic burnout is still a relatively new field, so science has not found a definite answer as to why autistic brains react this way. One theory is that autistic people tend to have high levels of neuroplasticity. In other words, autistic brains may find it very easy to create new connections between nerve cells. Neuroplasticity may contribute to some autistic peoples exceptional problem-solving abilities. However, the brain may sometimes redirect its resources away from certain skills as it develops new solutions to problems, taking those abilities temporarily offline.

It is important to note that autistic burnout is not a conscious behavior. An autistic individual is not ignoring social norms or neglecting work simply because they are tired. They cannot willpower their way back to their old level of functioning. In fact, autistic burnout is often caused by people working too hard to appear normal.

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Autism And Sleep Ten Possible Strategies

The article below adresses the issues of autism and sleep in children and offers ten possible strategies.

You know that your child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder experiences sleep difficulties. You also know that your childs difficulties create sleep challenges for you too. But what you may not know is how common the challenges you face are for families affected by ASD.

In a report published in 1999, psychologist Amanda Richdale estimated that 44-83% of children on the autism spectrum experience sleep challenges, the most common of which are difficulty falling asleep, frequent wakings during the night, and early morning waking. Other difficulties include:

Make The Bedroom More Comfortable

Autistic Child? Don’t Sleep? A Quick Easy Fix!

Autistic people can have sensory differences, which make it harder to relax and go to sleep, as well as stay asleep. Their environment and surroundings can also play a role. It may help to:

  • block out light using dark curtains or black-out blinds
  • reduce noise using thick carpet, shutting doors fully, turning off appliances, and moving your childs bed away from a wall with activity going on on the other side
  • block out noises by letting your child use ear plugs or listen to music through headphones
  • remove labels from bedding and night clothes, or try bedding and nightclothes made from other materials
  • reduce smells coming into the room by closing the door fully, or by using scented oils that your child finds relaxing
  • remove distractions, such as electronic devices near the bed and pictures on the wall , and consider a different colour on the walls
  • use relaxation techniques such as having a bath, massage, quiet time or gentle exercise such as yoga, to help your child wind down before bedtime.

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If You Think Your Child May Be Autistic

Based on the description above, you may feel that your child should be evaluated for autism. If that’s the case:

  • Read a little more about the symptoms of autism to be sure that you’re accurately understanding how autism differs from other developmental challenges.
  • Talk with your pediatrician to find out whether he or she agrees with your assessmentand ask for recommendations for practitioners or clinics that can conduct an evaluation. If your pediatrician disagrees with you, be sure you understand why and be sure you agree. If you don’t agree, move on to the next step.
  • Talk with your school district to determine whether they have facilities to evaluate your child free of charge. If not, they may be able to recommend a clinic or practitioner that they work with.
  • Choose a practitioner or clinic and make an appointment.

Don’t be shy about asking for an evaluation. If your child is autistic, you’ve certainly done the right thing. If your child has delays or challenges that don’t qualify him/her for an autism diagnosis, you’ve discovered those issues and can have them treated. If your child is simply developing differently, you can set your mind at ease.

In short, an evaluation can only help. And, since it’s usually possible to have your child evaluated for free, what do you have to lose?

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Screening and diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. Reviewed August 27, 2019

  • Last Step: Keep Practicing Tagging And Reinforcing

    Continue tagging and reinforcing your child for the many good car behaviors she now has: Quiet Mouth, Appropriate Vocalization, Hands Still, Feet Still, Touch Toy, Touch Book, Hold Picture Page. Continuous practice will teach your child that the car is a nice place to be, plus she will end up in nice places like the playground, the ice cream shop, or grandmas house. Best of all, the car will bring her home again.

    With TAGteach, a parent can teach a child the behaviors necessary for family car trips in a gentle, positive way. The child experiences success at multiple steps in the process, and the parent experiences the thrill of teaching a new and critical skill to the child.

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    Q Our Son Who Is 11 Has High

    This is a common question from parents of children with autism spectrum disorders. These youngsters often struggle with understanding personal space, as well as knowing what kind of social gestures are acceptable with various kinds of individuals. Their lack of a social filter can even put their own personal safety or that of others is at risk. For you as a parent, I understand that it can be very frustrating and worrisome when your child acts in ways that are intrusive and unpredictable. Thank you for asking such an important question.

    Consider environmental factors, too. Does your son attempt to make physical contact with others at certain times of the day when he may be hungry, tired, or bored? If this is the case, you may want to consider offering a snack, a nap, or an interesting distraction for him.

    Another option would be for you to teach your son what we call a replacement behavior. This means that he would engage in a similar behavior that is not as socially intrusive. For example, if you notice that your son has a hard time keeping his hands to himself when he is meeting someone for the first time, you may want to teach him to high five or shake hands. This way hes still getting physical contact, but in a way that is respectful and safe.

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