Autism is a developmental condition that affects how a person relates to other people and the world around them. It can make it difficult for children with the condition to make sense of social situations, which can quickly lead to anger, low self-esteem, upset, frustration and stress!
Studies have shown that regular relaxation is the most effective treatment for autistic spectrum disorders (Weisz, McCarty and Valeri, 2006). Relaxation techniques teach children simple ways of managing the stress and anxiety that often come as a result autism. For example, if an autistic child is feeling overwhelmed, a simple relaxation exercise can help them regain control and keep calm.
Although every person with autism is different, often, those with the condition are drawn to things that are familiar to them -sounds, sights, smells or even certain topics. This means that some children with autism can find it very difficult to cope with a change in circumstances, a new environment, or new people.
This following exercise can help children with autism deal with stressful situations. It will give them an outlet when they need to escape momentarily and calm down.
The Happiness Switch
1. Remember a time you felt really happy. It might be when you were with your family, laughing or doing something that really made you proud of yourself.
2. Take your mind back to that place and try and imagine you are back there and see what you saw and hear what you heard and remember how great you felt.
3. As you think about the memory, try and make the colours in the memory brighter and make the sounds louder.
4. Now, squeeze thumb and first finger together on your right hand as you think about your happy memory.
5. Next time you are feeling lonely or sad, just squeeze your thumb and first finger and remember your happy memory. This is your happy switch and you can use it whenever you need to relax or feel better.
Relax Kids CDs can be used to help children with autism relax. The CDs follow a consistent pattern, which can become familiar and comforting to children. Each track starts with soothing music, then a gentle guided meditation begins. In the fairytale range, children follow a story which teaches them simple relaxation techniques like breathing exercises or muscle relaxations. In other CDs, children visualise different relaxing scenarios, such as lying in soft grass or floating down a river.
Our Quiet Spaces CD has had wonderful results with children with autism!
"This CD brilliant, my 9 year old son has Aspergers and they really help him to switch off and reduce his anxiety levels at bedtime." -Maxine Yearsley, parent
"The result in my class was astounding! One child who screams continually, stopped and listened to the CD. After having such remarkable results after one listen, I now plan to use the CD as a start of the day activity and end of the day activity." -G. Muir, Phoenix Special School
LISTEN to the Quiet Spaces CD now or order your copy from our online store.