5 Calming Techniques for Children with ASD
Many children with ASD may act out when they’re stressed, fearful, frustrated, or anxious. Because children with ASD often have difficulty expressing and communicating their feelings in socially acceptable ways, their distress may take the form of an emotional meltdown or outburst.
It’s helpful to have a plan for meltdowns, teach the child how to self-soothe, and practice calming routines. For some children, sensory toys such as squeeze balls and fidget toys, weighted blankets, their favorite videos, or activities can help them manage their emotions. You can set up a calming routine that the child practices on a regular basis, and make it part of their daily schedule. When you recognize the child is becoming stressed, tell them it’s time to practice their calming routine. If this does not prevent a full-blown meltdown, wait until the child is calmer and try later.
Here are some techniques to calm a child who’s upset:
- Tell the child you understand they’re upset. Don’t try to reason or argue or get angry yourself. Give the child space and time to calm themselves down if they’re in no danger of hurting themselves.
- If your child has a favorite song, sing it quietly to them.
- Try deep breathing. Encourage the child to sit and take deep breaths in and out. Deep breathing decreases muscle tension and lowers the heart rate, calming the body and mind.
- Designate a calming space in the child’s environment. This ‘safe space’ can be a corner of a room in which you have already placed comforting items such as a cushiony seat or bean bag chair, sensory toys, etc.
- Reduce any sensory overload or triggers. If the child is feeling overwhelmed from too much sensory stimulation such as noise and bright lights, try to get them to a quieter place.
Harsha Autism Center provides ongoing care for children, adolescents, and young adults (ages 2-22) with autism to improve the quality of their lives. If you would like learn more about how Harsha Autism Center can help please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (812) 233-8833.