Anxiety is a common problem faced by both children and adults, but the situation becomes even more complicated when dealing with an autistic child.
In fact, the relationship between autism and anxiety is quite strong, such that most autistic children often exhibit different traits of anxiety, including emotional outbursts, social withdrawal traits, self-injury, dependency on schedule, and over-stimulation.
Handling anxiety in autistic children is a very critical issue but the good news is that it is manageable.
In this post, we will be examining the 5 techniques you can employ to manage anxiety in an autistic child:
Find Out The Triggers
You can’t manage it properly unless you have an idea of what the triggers are. The first step to stress and anxiety management for autistic children is to identify what triggers fear and anxiety in your child. Once you are able to discover the culprits, finding out how to manage the situation becomes simpler. As a matter of fact, the next step is to avoid any situation that will trigger fear or anxiety.
However, in some cases, if the causes are necessary to his or her growth and development, it is wise to encourage the child to engage in the activities that trigger such fears or anxiety so that he or she can overcome it. You can use positive reinforcement or any other reward system to encourage the child but make sure the activity is carried out under close supervision.
Utilize Visual Scheduling and Transitioning Technique.
Most autistic kids do not enjoy the abrupt transition from one activity to another, especially if they prefer one activity over the other. To make transitions and schedules more smooth and effective, use visual scheduling techniques.
This may include specifying the time that each activity will last as well as using images and videos to indicate the transition from one activity to another. Taking these steps will help to prepare them mentally for what to expect next.
Create a Safe Space at Home
First of all, if you have an autistic child, you should take measures to make sure that every corner of your house is designed to guarantee safety for your child. Sharp objects should be kept out of reachable areas and the walls should be painted with relaxing colors.
In addition, it is also necessary that you carve out a safe space for the child. This is important to help the child manage stress and anxiety. Space can be equipped with things that can help the child to calm down such as playful music, puzzles, beanbags, and stress balls.
Before designing the space, you should try to find out what actually calms the child in moments of stress.
However, try as much as possible not to throw the child into this area (safe space) regularly, else he or she will find to be the perfect place to escape normal human interaction.
Create Social Stories
This is another visual learning technique that can be incorporated into an autistic child’s daily life. This is also aimed at making sure that your child is taken unawares before things happen. Using social stories means communicating a situation to the child before it happens.
For example, you can read a story about going to school or demonstrate what will happen in school some minutes before the school bus arrives. This will help to prepare the child mentally before the actual activity.
A social story is also a great way to help your child overcome anxiety. To do this, you can create a story around one factor that triggers anxiety in your child and highlight ways to overcome the situation.
Autistic kids are usually visual learners. To help your child, first of all, discover the factors that cause the child’s anxiety and then devise visual ways to manage or help him or her overcome the condition.
Need help with taking care of your autistic child or looking for ways to help him or her to improve significantly, contact Pulse Center today.