Below is five ways to support autistic children with anxiety.
By addressing sensory needs, children feel regulated, ready to learn and take in new information, making it easier for them to learn coping strategies if needed.
Having a calming area can be a useful tool. A calming area is an area within the home/school designated as a place to escape stress, prevent and control anxiety. This area should be seen as a positive space.
For more information on how an occupational therapist can help with sensory needs our blog post is here: https://autismconnects.ie/why-occupational-therapy-is-important-for-children-with-autism-spectrum-disorder/
Environments that feel safe and consistent and only changed very gradually, at the pace led by each child, can help reduce anxiety.
The more positive memories someone has in an environment, the less anxious they are likely to be there.
A predictable environment helps all of us better regulate our emotions and regulate our anxiety.
Visual supports and explaining what is going to happen will help provide predictability and structure throughout the day.
We find safety in relationships. By connecting with someone, we help calm them. When seeing a safe person, anxiety decreases.
Acknowledge of children’s emotions can also help reduce their aniexty. See examples below.
- “You want to ride the horse, but you are feeling a little shy.”
- “I hear you. Tell me more.”
Engaging in activities we enjoy makes us feel happier. By encouraging special interests confidence increases and anxiety reduces.