How to Help Your Autistic Child Manage Stimming

How to Help Your Autistic Child Manage Stimming

Self-stimulating actions, typically including repetitive sounds or gestures, are referred to as "stimming."

In some manner, everyone stims.

Stimming is an important element of the life of autistic children, and it is also a part of who they are.

Parents and other family members, teachers, and caregivers can all play an important part in providing support for autism.

Stimming doesn't always need to be suppressed because it's undesirable.

But when it disturbs others and impairs quality of life, it needs to be handled.

There are various ways to help your autistic child manage stimming, one of which is to prepare your child for the unexpected.

Autistic children find it hard to handle unexpected changes or things.

This causes them to stim as a way to deal with the stress and anxiety of unexpected events.

What better way to help them function if they struggle to deal with the unexpected than to establish a daily routine for them to follow?

Sticking to a routine for daily tasks will help them have a semblance of predictability in their lives which will reduce anxiety and stress.

More often than not, there are particular triggers that cause autistic children to stim.

If you can discover what these triggers are and eliminate them by keeping autistic children away from them, it will help your autistic child manage stimming.

Below, learn more on how to help your autistic child manage stimming.

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Prepare Your Child

Being unable to predict what will happen can make autistic persons react badly to novel settings or events.

Their ideas, attitudes, and actions may be impacted by this "intolerance of uncertainty."

Unpredictability, which is, unfortunately, a part of life, can have a particularly negative impact on people with autism, adding to their stress and worry.

Unexpected events occasionally happen, like a sudden detour to the store or a trip to the bank.

By visiting the school in advance, so your kid is comfortable with the surroundings, you can help them in reducing stress and strengthen their resistance to change.

A video of kids being taught in a classroom and partaking in the activity may help calm your autistic child down if they are anxious about trying something new.

Stick to a Routine for Daily Tasks

Having a consistent daily schedule helps decrease stress and anxiety since people with autism frequently describe their world as overwhelming and unpredictable.

Thus, children and teenagers with autism sometimes prefer rituals and routines and dislike change.

This means that managing changes to everyday routines may require assistance for your autistic child.

For each activity, establish the same routines.

If you let your child know what to expect and give them a reassuring gesture, they will be able to handle worry better.

You can plan for some transitions and adjustments to everyday routines since you are aware of them in advance.

They include actions like leaving the house, attending a gathering, or attending a scheduled appointment. 

Eliminate or Reduce the Triggers 

Take a look at the sensory surroundings.

Autistic children can easily get overstimulated by various things, which can trigger stimming as a coping mechanism.

If you watch when and how much your child is stimming, it may help you figure out what is triggering the stimming that is making your child anxious.

If your autistic child is overstimulated, they might need to go to a quiet area or concentrate on just one object at a time.

Extra outdoor playing or the introduction of new toys and textures may be necessary to make up for those that experience under-stimulation.

The risk of sensory overload can be decreased by lowering environmental and social pressures.

To accommodate children with autism, some schools feature sensory rooms.

These rooms are built to help autistic children's needs. 

Increase Physical Activity 

You can help your autistic child manage stimming by increasing physical activity.

According to studies, vigorous physical activity causes the production of endorphins, which may lessen stimming in autistic children.

Physical activity also diverts your child's attention from stimming by giving them something enjoyable to concentrate on.

An autistic child's stimming behavior can be improved if they engage in heavy tasks or spend more time outside.

Activities that require pushing, hauling, or lifting large objects or goods are categorized as heavy work activities.

Heavy work tasks include many playground activities and housework, but they can also be planned with the help of a few essentials.

Adopting the use of a sensory diet is another way to help your autistic child manage stimming.

A "sensory diet" is a type of occupational therapy that aims to lessen stimming by planning activities into a child's day to suit their unique sensory requirements.

Encourage Acceptable Behavior 

For those with autism, suppressing their impulses all day long can be draining.

Provide your child with regular alone time during the day, so they can relax, walk about freely, and be themselves without fear of criticism.

Children with autism may engage in stimming behaviors that are disruptive to others, such as making loud noises or whirling around continuously.

It's important to remember that stimming release your child's pent-up stress; therefore, the goal is to reduce anxiety without upsetting other people.

Never reprimand your child for engaging in poor stim behavior; instead, try to divert their attention.

By doing this, the habit will merely be replaced with a different one that may even be more undesirable.

Teach a different way of acting to help with the same demands.

Squeezing a stress ball or engaging in another fine motor task can be used in place of, say, jumping.

Conclusion

Depending on the situation, stimming actions can change.

Sometimes they improve as a child gets older, but they can also get worse under pressure.

Managing stimming is something that many autistic people may learn to do with time, tolerance, and support for autism.

Here are ways to help your autistic child manage stimming: preparing your child, sticking to a routine for daily tasks, eliminating or reducing the triggers, increasing physical activities, and encouraging acceptable behaviors and deviating from unacceptable behaviors.

Resources 

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January 28th, 2023