Sunday Support: A Parent Support Blog Coping with Change: Children on the Spectrum #ASD, #Autism Spectrum, #parenting #self-regulate #stayathome Changes in routine, changes in environment. In the midst of the COVID Pandemic many parents are adapting to changing routines at home including added school work, more hours to “entertain” or otherwise occupy children. Add a […]
Sunday Support: A Parent Support Blog
Coping with Change: Children on the Spectrum
#ASD, #Autism Spectrum, #parenting
Changes in routine, changes in environment.
In the midst of the COVID Pandemic many parents are adapting to changing routines at home including added school work, more hours to “entertain” or otherwise occupy children. Add a child with autism to the mix and the pressure gets amped up! Autistic behaviors of acting out due to change can be increased due to the many changes in routine brought about by our current lifestyle restrictions.
I am offering some reminders of coping strategies and some art interventions to help children on the spectrum to self-regulate. We will explore timetabling and self-regulation activities. (I came upon the idea of timetabling in an article written by Rebecca Sharrock who describes a system she has worked out to help her as an adult on the autism spectrum to cope with change. I have adapted her idea to apply to children on the spectrum. You can find her article here: https://longevitymedia/enabling-autistic-people-to-cope-with-change?)
Secondly I will suggest some self-regulating activities.
Self Regulation Activities
Let's begin by exploring “timetabling.”
Timetable A = Your Usual Routine
Timetable B = Something has changed today and we are on Timetable B.
Timetable C = We’ve had another change and we might doing Timetable C.
Timetable A is how the day usually runs. Our new daily schedule with family members knowing what to expect
Timetable B is (our new Pandemic timetable) the routine that has been worked out for all family members. A reminder of this might be “I know you prefer Timetable A but we are on Timetable B for now.”
When another unexpected change comes up during the day, due to a sibling in crisis, an unexpected change in a delivery time, a household chore that needs immediate attention, whatever the case may be, we move to Timetable C. In this case we are allowing for the need for immediate and short term flexibility. When you say “We are on Timetable C” this will indicate to your child with autism that it is time to move to his/ her self soothing activity You have a pre-determined and agreed upon self-soothing activity that is understood to be the “go-to” and is readily available and easily accessible. Clearly this has to be made ready ahead of time for such an emergency change scenario.
Here are some self-regulating activities that you might choose from:
Any activity that includes cross-body/ bilateral movement in a safe quiet space.
Listne to music
Drink of water and a snack (self serve)
Sitting with a calming family pet
Time in your “safe place” with stuffed animal, weighted blanket, music play list, lava lamp, etc.
Finally make a list with your child of self soothing activities. Choose 1-or 2 to have at the ready for Timetable C emergencies. If you would like more support please contact Sally Blevins MA LPC at Connect Therapies or see our Resource Page at www. connecttherapiesllc.com. There will be more blog posts to follow with self-regulation activities and instructions.k