Is Anxiety Affecting Your Child On The Autism Spectrum?
“There are many ways that parents and caregivers can help when their children seem to be experiencing anxiety.
“Here are some loving and gentle ways to help your loved ones:
• Anxiety is a sign that our children are experiencing stress in their daily life. A powerful way to help reduce their stress levels (and help them relax) is by reducing the demands we put on our children. Homework, therapies, long school days, driving around, and many appointments – these can all contribute to our children feeling stressed and not having time to self-regulate.
Is there something in your child’s daily schedule that can be reduced to allow him/her more time for self-regulation?
• Listen more to what your child wants to talk about, even if this is repetitive, and might seem to be ‘nonsense’. If our children are choosing to talk about a specific topic repeatedly, this is helping them self-regulate. When you listen attentively and lovingly this can help create a sense of predictability and trust that can hugely help our children feel more relaxed.
• Did you know that your child’s isms (self-stimming behaviors) are the anti-dote for their anxiety? That is right! You might have been advised to stop your child from doing their stimming behaviors and to re-direct them to do something more ‘productive’. However, you can verify it for yourself and you will notice that the reality in very different! When our children are stopped from doing their isms/ stimming, we actually notice that they become more anxious, agitated, and sometimes even ‘aggressive’.
“In The Son-Rise Program for the past 40 year, we not only allow our children to do their isms, but we join them during that time and do their isms too. Over the years, we have observed that by doing that, our children become more relaxed, are happier, learn, and grow so much more.
“Next time your child is doing their ism (self-stimming behavior), remind yourself that this is your child’s antidote for their anxiety – remember this is helping them!”
Written by Camila Titone, Senior Son-Rise Program Teacher