Monthly Archives: July 2018

How to cope with a Child on the Spectrum who is Sensitive to Loud Noises

Have you noticed your child with autism covering their ears, complain of headaches or discomfort when in large groups or at loud restaurants? Do you notice them having meltdowns when they hear the sound of a vacuum, or a power tool turning on, or a car alarm going off? If you have noticed this in your child, they may be suffering from auditory sensitivity.

Children with auditory sensitivity can experience pain from the throbbing and pulsating noises they hear around them and this can interfere with your child’s activities, so much so, that they can become paralyzed with pain or feel like running away due to sensory overload. This type of sensitivity can limit your child from social interactions with family, friends and peers, so hereare a few ways to ease this discomfort and help your child cope with loud noises when they are in social settings.

1. The most obvious choice is to get your child a set of noise canceling headphones and to bring them with you whenever you anticipate being in a social setting where they noise can be too much for them to handle. This will block the noise enough to allow them to hear, but not beuncomfortable with the loud sounds around them. When you are prepared ahead of time you make it so that the noises do not intrude in your day to day life.
2. Monitor your child’s behavior and pick up on what triggers the sensitivity to noise is also an important thing for a parent to pay attention to. Once you know what triggers their behavior (headaches, pain, meltdown etc) you can assess the situation ahead of time and know if they will be able to cope with their auditory sensitivity by using a pair of headphones or ear buds, or if it an activity that you should avoid to keep them comfortable.
3. Find quiet zones wherever you go. When a child on the spectrum needs a break from loud noises, it is important to be able to take them out of a situation before it gets to the point of a meltdown. By creating a designated quite zone you are making sure that they can get away when they need to and then come join the activities again when they are feeling up to it. If you are in someone home, this might be a bedroom away from the noise. If in a public area or outdoor space, this may even mean taking them back to the car for a little while and allowing them to listen to some soft soothing music to calm their nerves. Wherever you go, make sure you know a good place to escape the noise.

With the wonderfully hot summer months upon us and kids running around everywhere (at camp, on the beach, in the parks, the malls and the kids play places), these tips are sure to make things easier on you and still allow your child with autism to join in on the summer fun, but also find a place to escape the noise when they need a break so that their auditory sensitivity doesn’t get the best of them, or you.

Learning to be Kind to Others

Doing acts of kindness for people can brighten up their day and shift their perspective in a positive way. Everyone wants to experience a kind act and what you give out to the world will come back to you, so it is important to be kind, teach kindness and live kindly. Adults and children want to be helpful and usually set out to be nice, but sometimes acts of kindness don’t come easy for children on the spectrum.
It is important for you to set a good example for your child with autism, on how important it is to be kind to themselves and to others.
Here are some ways in which we feel your child with autism can learn acts of kindness from you:
1. Be a Good Role Model – When you say or do unkind things to other people your child with autism will learn to follow your example. Children pick these behaviors up quickly and learn that treating someone unfairly, demanding something from someone or calling someone names is acceptable behavior. Be a good role model to your child and always say kind things about yourself and others.
2. Read Stories of Kindness – Read stories about kindness and respect are also a great way to teach your child with autism that good things come to those to do good for others. It is also important to discuss how being kind makes the characters feel and to role play situations that appear in the stories. IT is also great to talk to your child about events in these stories and ask them what kind things they can think of doing if they were put in these situations and how they would want others to treat them.
3. Practice Acts of Kindness – Teach your child on the spectrum to help others, whether it be helping you clean around the house, or a neighbor carry something, or a friend with a project etc., teaching them to offer their help is a very important part of learning to be kind to others.
4. Be Kind to Yourself – Talk to your child with autism about what makes them happy and what they like to do, and make sure to set aside time for them to participate in activities they love. By doing show it will make them feel better about themselves, make them happy and decrease stress. When children are less stressed and happy, there is a better likelihood that they will help others achieve a sense of happiness.
5. Be Charitable – talk to your child with autism about how they can help on a large scale. Teach them about specific organizations and charities that fall into line with their interests. Explain to them the importance of helping others who can’t help themselves and explore the idea of volunteering for a charity or charity event/ This will teach your child that even a small amount of time and energy makes a big difference.
Being kind to yourself and others is an important part of living a happy and productive life. Modeling acts of kindness no matter how big or small and practicing kindness can help your child with autism to be humble, helpful and happy.

 

Fun Family Vacation

Its summer, school is out and it’s the perfect time for a family get-away! It doesn’t matter if you are planning a full-fledged vacation or a weekend retreat, time away with your family creates memories, teaches your children about new places, introduces them to new people and allows them to explore and discover new things.

For many, vacation time is an exciting time, but for a child that has been diagnosed with autism, it can be an unsettling time. Unfortunately, some children on the spectrum have a difficult time with new places, people and schedules; so here are some great tips to help make your family vacation a more enjoyable one.

It is important to make sure you prepare your child who has been diagnosed with autism for a new adventure. When headed to unfamiliar places, showing our child a brochure, website, or book about the locations you will be visiting will get them prepared and excited for what they will be seeing and doing. Show them your hotel, the room you booked, the types of activities the hotel offers or tours you want to take them on. Show them pictures of the local foods etc. It is also important (if you are flying to a destination), to prepare them for the plane ride. It’s great to show your child on the spectrum pictures of planes (both the interior and exterior), and even take them to the airport to watch the planes land and take off).

Practicing using your inside voice, keeping your seatbelt on and other securities processes and etiquette will also ensure a smooth flight.

Involve your kids in the planning process. Let them pick an activity they want to do, allow them to help while you pack their suitcase or bag and use this opportunity to disc topics like what the weather will be like, if it’s a casual trip, if there will be an event to dress up for etc. Also let your child pack their own bag of toys, games and activity books that they will enjoy either in the car or on the plane so that they are occupied during long travel times, delays or when unexpected situations come up.

Many children who have been diagnosed with autism have a hard time when schedules shift or change. Although you may not be able to keep their schedule exactly the way it is at home, try to figure out a way to offer them some sort of consistent schedule while away. Creating a written or picture schedule for your trip can help your child on the spectrum transition, also verbal reminders work wonderfully at notifying your child of schedule changes. By making sure your child has some sort of consistency while you are away, you allow for a less stressful, more relaxing vacation.

It is important to make time to relax. Many times families feel that they need to overschedule their activities while on vacation. In between running from location to location try to plan some downtime to rest, play games, read or nap with your child. Downtime will reenergize your child on the spectrum and will allow them to process each activity and event.

Don’t forget to talk to your child on the spectrum about the things you have done together as a family, while you were away. Take lots of pictures and even allow your child to take pictures of things that they like and want to remember. Buy your child a journal before the trip and encourage them to write about each day during down time. Have them add their ticket stubs, images, brochures etc. in the journal as well so that they can look back at it any time and remember the fun they had. By talking about your trip and looking at images of the places you went, the people you met and the things you saw, you give your child the opportunity to remember their experiences.

Family vacations are meant to be fun, so now that you know how to prepare your child for what to expect, go enjoy your family vacation and travel safe! We wish you all a very happy and safe summer, filled with fun times and great memories.