Published on June 19th, 2013 | by GreatGets0
Calming & Relaxation Aids for Children with Autism
Free from the routines of the school year, summer is a time for spontaneity, family gatherings, and Fourth of July parties and fireworks. For the vast majority of the population, summer is a time for fun. Sadly, children with Autism are often unable to enjoy their much deserved vacation because so many of the activities involve large groups, loud noises, and the ability to be extemporaneous and flexible. Children with Autism often experience these activities as stressful which can exasperate their symptoms.
Our favorite ways to relieve anxiety and stress for children with Autism or Aspergers is a two prong approach:
- Thoughtfully utilizing calming and relaxation aids
What we mean by preparation is taking the time to pre-think all the stressors that might be involved in any given activity and then plan accordingly. Having said that, we freely admit that no matter how well you prepare there will always be unknown factors. All we can say is such is life. As parents we can only do our best and will never be able to anticipate everything that can cause a child to “lose it”.
As any one who has or cares for an autistic child well knows, routine and structure is crucial to creating a success. But sometimes, life does not cooperate. Sometimes, even the most rigid schedule goes by the wayside, especially in the summer. So in that case, the best you can do is prepare your son or daughter for the change. Talk about the coming schedule change in clear simple language. Using too many words is counter productive. Try to get your child to buy in to the change. Part of the buy in should be the knowledge that you have assembled quiet activities to create a more comfortable environment within the tumult.
Part and parcel to communicating both the change in routine and exactly what your child can expect in the new situation, we find that having the tools and aids readily at hand, increases a child’s chance of success tenfold. This about the time we turn to National Autism Resources, the leading online resource for information, advice, toys, gifts, and educational products for caregivers and teachers of children with Autism, Aspergers or PDD-NOS.
Experts suggest always having a “goody” bag packed and ready for to use anytime you and your child encounter a stress inducing predicament – maybe even consider keeping an extra bag in your trunk, just in case life throws you a curve ball. Again, it is always better to be prepared than to risk the dreaded “melt down”. Include calming activities that will re-enforce the expected behaviors. Both this Calm-Down Time book and Keeping Calm Activity Book will help keep your child focused on the task at hand and distracted from the surrounding commotion. Noise Reducing Ear Muffs will help block both the noise of crowds and the sound of fireworks. The Sirius Vibrating Massage Pillow is pressure activated and will start vibrating as your child squeezes it. Children love to sit on top of the pillow, lean back on it, or hug it to feel the relaxing and calming vibrations. It will also help define your child’s personal space in what can be otherwise be an overwhelming situation. And finally, the Fidget and Stress Ball Sets feature a variety of textures and toys designed specifically to increase focus as well as provide an appropriate way to relieve stress – exactly what you need to keep little hands and mind busy and distracted from the surrounding events.
You and your child will enjoy your summer more if you prepare for and embrace the inevitable challenges!
Dare to be Great!
Summary: Summer can be challenging for children with autism. Change in routines, large crowds, and loud noises call for new calming and relaxation resources and techniques. We review some of the best autism aids available from National Autism Resources.