My 9 year old son, Liam was diagnosed at age 6 with high functioning Autism/Aspergers. As he has grown older, one of the main areas of concern has been increasing anxiety/frustration especially when he is unable to accomplish tasks because of his autism (gross or fine motor skills or socialization situations). We have tried the deep breathing exercises to self soothe which has worked with some sucess. Any other suggestions that we could implement at home and at school for self soothing techniques?
I have seen this and I fiound that a distraction worked , so take his mind from the frustration and into something else, does he like puzzles, I know children like your boy are very intelligent and are good with detail and puzzles are quietening, I would also at these times lessen your reaction, down play your feelings.,how does he react to music some children have liked loud raucous music, some classical music one mother would put on the Vacuum cleaner to soothe he son,
We do alot of singing....I'm a musician and yes, music tames the "savage beast" tee hee. I've actually sang (loudly in the mall, grocery store, hairdressers, school, van, dentists office, doctors office, hospital, and library) as a calming tool. Our repertiore ranges from lullabyes to Aerosmith (damn Guitarhero). Unfortunately, when Liam has tried this on his own, the teachers just think he is asking out further...although "Schools Out by Alice Cooper" was rather humerous as he was being led to the detention/quiet room.
When he is really upset, excited, his stimming increases, his body movement becomes hyper, he has difficulty finding words to express himself and difficulty in focusing. He needs a tool(s) to get him back on task/refocused in to the moment, so distraction to another task might not be the answer. Any other suggestions?
What about reading I mean actually sitting focusing quietly on words,Poetry , The boy I am thinking about loved to be read to, he also liked his Mom to massage his back and neck, it became repetitive but she didnt care, what ever worked, is is a problem then if Liam acts out , it is him after all and would it be a problem to allow it to be the way it is,why do we seek to stem the behavior ?
With my son we redirect him to a "quiet place" at home that is his room, unless he refuses to go, which is a lot because he has many behavior problems. We have put paper in his room to tear up when he gets mad, however he has to clean it up and put in the "shredded box" we also give him bubble wrap that he can pop each one individually. We also blow up balloons and he can step on those, great for auditory stimulation! And he has many other gadgets in his room that is allowed to tear up. He has a sensory disorder so he cannot get the stimulation that we can all by himself to calm him down. We can go for a walk, turn on some music, etc. They have no idea what to do or how to get that stimulation. It's best to provide him with a quiet area and things they are very sensory stimulating. Even a simple treat and a glass of juice work! You can try beef jerky as well because it's something they have to chew on and work on for awhile to chew it up and eat it all. It's very calming to them. I advise having these items around when it's time for homework, long car rides, etc. He may only engage for 5-15 minutes in one particular item so be ready to have another one on hand!!
We're battling with this right now too. His anxiety and frustration are OFF THE CHARTS! He hits a lot, kicks, refuses to do things, he's knocking over chairs, kicking holes in walls. But hopefully one day we'll all beat this challenge and find the CURE!
My son Paul is 20 and he is calmed by music. I usually sing to him if we are transitioning from one thing to another. It distracts him wonderfully. If he is angry about something singing will often stop him immediately. It is such a high preference reward that it stops him from feeling aggitated. An IPOD with his favorite music can help. This may be allowed at a school so when he is aggitated at school ask him to write it down immediately so you can go over it when he gets home. Ask him to write his feelings too. Writing it down will help calm his mind and by writing his feelings it will help him get his frustrations out. Then later when he is home you will be able to read it and understand what happened and how it made him feel. Then you can show him how to use coping skills. In time he will be able to read the journal himself and see how he could have handled things better. Also, he needs to know that the self-talk is what allows us to keep anger and give it strength. Instead of saying continually I can't do this, I am stupid, etc. He needs to be his OWN BEST FRIEND and say.....you tried, doing things well requires time....he needs to list his strengths each time he starts down the negative path. When he gets frustrated at home, have him list his strengths to you out loud. Ask him what he is good at......remind him that most people are not good at everything....most people have special gifts and so does he. With socialization you can practice making faces with him, show him how to read expressions, also you may want to get the book "How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie", socialization is most successful when you make others feel good about themselves. There are many people without Aspergers that don't know the secret to friendship. People like you for how you make them feel about themselves.....not how pretty you are or how smart you are. Tell him to think of the people he really likes, what do they do that makes him like them more than anyone else.....most likely it will the the things that make him feel special and good about himself. All people are this way......
I agree with distraction, listening to music, and writing. Those are some strategies I use with myself if I can think about them before the storm happens. Sometimes even talking it out helps too. There's one office building I can't stand to wait in because of how sound echos off the concrete walls. I was extrememly upset because we accidently came about an hour early for my meeting, which meant having to wait there. I just so happened to find someone to talk to in one of the offices. I showed her my sketchbook and my drawings. I talked about my anxiety and story characters, and that kept me calm the whole time.
Also sometimes I will try to imagine something in my head. If I can occupy my mind with anything BUT the thing stressing me, that helps. But sometimes I feel like the dog whisperer with his clicker... Every time I start drifting back into thinking about what is upsetting me, I have to go back and find another thing to think about to distract me. I have to keep repeating that process...
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