Even everyday situations can become stressful for a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). As a parent, it helps to quickly identify when your child is feeling stressed out while implementing effective techniques for calming them down. It’s even better if you can put steps in place to prevent unnecessary stress for your child. These tips offer a general guide that you can personalize for your child.
1. Manage Their Sensory Levels
It can be easy for a child with ASD to become overwhelmed by their environment before they even start working on a task. While you may not always notice them, you have to assess every room from your child’s perspective.
Elements like persistent noises, strong scents, bright lights, and colorful posters can be a lot. It’s recommended that you make the room your child will be in as low-sensory input as possible. You can dim the lights, turn electronics off, and remove highly scented things from the room. If there’s a sound that you can’t end or control, noise-canceling headphones can be helpful.
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2. Give Them Large Tasks In A Manageable Way
Some parents of autistic children may avoid assigning complex tasks because they don’t want to create a stressful situation. However, that’s not always possible. If you need your child to work on a large task, there’s a more effective way to get it done. Instead of telling them the whole task, it’s better to break it down into small, basic actions.
For example, if you want your child to get dressed, you can break that down into individual tasks that build on each other. You might tell them to put on their underwear and celebrate completing that task. Once all the actions are completed, your child would have done the complex task you had in mind.
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3. Make Simple Tasks Easy To Understand
Of course, just because a task is small, it doesn’t mean that it will be easy for a child with ASD to handle or complete. Some autistic children don’t respond well to being handed small tasks in quick succession.
In that case, it’s better to let them know the expected sequence of events upfront. One example would be saying, “First, we’re going to eat breakfast then we’re going for a walk.”
When you tell your child what’s coming next after one task, they’re less likely to