A Guest Post by Amber Roy
What is Autism?
Autism is a developmental disorder. It is characterized by challenges with learning, social skills, speech, and all forms of communication. And while not much is known about its causes, doctors have discovered that autism is not a disease that is developed and is something people are born with. Early signs of autism can be seen in children ages one to two.
While bipolar and OCD ( obsessive-compulsive disorder) can be mistaken for autism, they are all considered different and have a variety of challenges the individual will face. But with help from family and loved ones, managing any disorders or diseases will be much easier, especially if you know some of the methods to help. While sending one of your loved ones to a care facility like dementia care La habra is an option you may consider.
How to Calm an Autistic Child?
Even an average functioning child will have meltdowns in challenging situations. But with autistic children, it could be daily. They have less control over their emotions than others their age. The key is knowing their triggers, signs of overstimulating, and how to address them when it happens.
Some common triggers of autistic are:
● Changes in routine
● Loud noises
● Strong smell
● Overstimulating Colors like red and yellow
Signs of Over-stimulation:
● 1) Increased movement
● 2) Covering eyes or ears
● 3) Self-harm
● 4) Reckless movements
● 5) Aggression toward others
Along with the list, children might react differently to the same triggers depending on their environment. For example, a child could have a meltdown at a loud party but not in a movie theatre (since he might be too distracted with the show).
Learning calming mechanisms early on is the best way to teach self-control. Though many of these methods are proven to work, getting extra help from psychologists will be just as beneficial or even more. After all, there is no harm in getting g extra help.
1) Remove the child from the triggering situation
Like high-functioning individuals, removing yourself from a highly stressful situation is the go-to method to calm yourself down. Autism are highly sensory, which means they can be overstimulated and stressed more quickly than those without this disorder. Removing them when you notice one of the early signs will be a good solution. And when they’re calm, letting them know this option can help them solve the issue themselves.
Although distractions won’t always work, it is a good idea to equip yourself with a few. In stressful situations, bring up their interests and favourite topic. It will get them excited and even start a conversation about it. Or, if you are out, talk about specific objects you see. Let them know that that distractions can be anything and eventually they’ll be able to distract themselves when they get overwhelmed.
3) Physical Exercise
Exercise is known to help regulate the emotions of autistic people, especially in relieving stress and anxiety. The activities can be as simple as daily walks, jumping, stretching, or playing. It can start with a few minutes and slowly increase every day. Doing exercise, even for thirty minutes a day, will help. But you will get better results if you start with praise to avoid discouragement and make exercise a daily schedule.
4) Sensory Objects
These are objects that stimulate the five senses. Some popular ones include fidget spinners, slime, and stress balls. When the child is calm, let them know to use these when they feel stressed or anxious. Or hand it to them when you see the warning signs.
Essential oil, children’s shows and calming music will also help to regulate their emotions.
5) Breathing Exercises
Take a deep breath through your nose. Keep it in for two to four seconds, then let it out through your mouth. Sit in front of your child, and ask him to do it with you. Even if the child doesn’t do it right away, seeing you repeatedly do it will get them to start.
This technique can help calm people in stressful situations. Let them know to do this when they feel too stressed.
Dealing with an autistic child can be challenging. But with the right type of help and teaching, these children are capable of living normal lives. Remember, just because they behave differently doesn’t mean they aren’t capable and should be shielded. The main difference is their way of interacting with others. Other than that, autistic children have grown to live everyday lives with good mental health. Hope this article was helpful to you.