World Autism Awareness Day is April 2nd
Free from the routines of the school year, summer is a time for spontaneity, family gatherings, and Fourth of July parties. And fireworks are often an intrinsic part of the festivities. 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. So much of the “fun” involves large groups, loud noises, and the ability to be extemporaneous and flexible. But children with autism often experience these activities as stressful, thereby exasperating their symptoms.
Update! Thanksgiving and the winter holidays are just around the corner. Need we say more? Unfortunately holidays, whatever time of year, are stress triggers for even the most serene, easy-going amongst us. Now magnify that 1000 fold for folks on the spectrum.
Calming & Relaxation Aids for Children with Autism
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 planning 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.
Resources for Parents of Children with Autism
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.
Goody Bags for Children with Autism
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.
New! We love these Kawaii Squishy Toys we found on PartyIdeaPros’ holiday stocking stuffer guide! (It truly is the best Holiday Gift Guide we have come across. So so many great ideas!
You and your child will enjoy your summer more if you prepare for and embrace the inevitable challenges!
Spark Autism Awareness
Looking for subtle ways to inspire you and your network of friends, family, and business associates to support the fight for autism awareness in every way possible? including patience and acceptance for the many people of all ages dealing with autism day in and day out? Think Checks. Yep, our friends over at Get Checks Cheap actually found a handful of personal checks and related products that will remind people to be patient and accepting of the many children and adults dealing with autism day in and day out.
Brilliance Wishing Bracelet
One more option we want you to know about >> From March 28th – April 30th, 2019, Stella & Dot will donate 20% of the retail purchase price of eligible sales of the Brilliance Wishing Bracelet to the HollyRod Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing compassionate care to those living with autism.
Dare to be Great!