For children with Autism, there are many things throughout the day that can unexpectedly trigger stress and frustrations. Whether this is through the over stimulation of sound, touch, or something else. autistic children can struggle to process and communicate these experiences. Here are 7 strategies to help alleviate any signs of stress that an autistic child may experience. Each child responds differently and so it's all about trying different things and finding out what works for your child.
Communication is key but can be a struggle for children who are autistic. Because of this, the way you communicate with them is extremely important. Talk with a calming, gentle tone, and talk to them respectfully. Make sure you listen to what it is your child is saying to you, and show that you are listening and appreciating their frustrations.
Give them Space
Sometimes your child might just need a little time to themselves to be able to calm down. If they are feeling overwhelmed by sensory stimulation, trying to embrace or talk to them can sometimes make it worse. If there is a calming and safe area for them to sit, allow them to have that time to themselves and they can come to you when they are ready to. It’s all about understanding your child and what is right for them. Don’t worry, this takes time, but you will get there and find something that works for them.
Take them out of the environment
If it is the environment causing them to become agitated, remove them from the environment and change their scenery. Keep this in mind for future trips so you know what to avoid. If it’s something in their home environment that is causing them to become stressed, change it. It won’t work to try and change the child – the environment needs to change for them.
Many autistic children respond well to deep pressure, making them feel safe and helping their muscles to relax. Weighted blankets are perfect for this, but if you don’t have one, layering several blankets can also achieve the safe result. Equally, a tight squeeze can sometimes help to relax your child. Massages can also be effective.
Introduce Vestibular Input
Some tantrums can be due to a lack of stimulation. For example, if an autistic child is throwing things, it can be indicative of a need for vestibular input. In cases like this, swinging them on a swing or letting them go on the trampoline is a great way of tackling the situation. Equally, if your child is quite small, picking them up and spinning them around can have the same affect. Over time, you will be able to grasp the things that trigger your child, and how to avoid them in the future.
If you know that your child likes a particular object or toy, whether it be a favorite teddy or game on your phone, offering these objects to them can be a great way to refocus their attention elsewhere and calm down. If they like to get creative, offer some crayons and paper for them to be be able to focus on something else, or even vent their frustrations through drawing.
Create a sensory environment
One of the most effective ways to help to calm an autistic child down, and prevent tantrums from happening, is having a sensory space for them to feel safe, stimulated, and relaxed in. Whether this is a full sensory room, sensory corner, or a few sensory products, a sensory environment has a multitude of benefits for autistic children. Regular exposure to such a sensory environment helps autistic children to filter out a lot of incoming sensory information that can be overloading and instead organize the information and improve their communication. Sensory products are great at reducing anxiety, improving behavior and mood, improving communication, and more. Bubble Tubes and Fiber Optics are just a few of the objects that are great for children with autism.
If you’re interesting in creating a sensory environment, please do not hesitate to contact us.