Calming and soothing an autistic child is something that requires patience. The first thing you need to understand before you can even begin to attempt interfering with a tantrum, is that you need to be calm as well. No good is going to come from getting frustrated. In fact, it will only escalate the situation. From start to finish, you have to be the physical example of calm.
Another thing to keep in mind is finding the cause of the tantrum. By now you have a pretty good idea regarding certain triggers. Use this knowledge to prevent the tantrum from happening altogether.
Some Helpful Calming And Soothing Techniques
Start by saying as little as possible. Our natural instinct of course may be to try reasoning with this child and telling them that everything will be okay. But the fact of the matter is your child doesn’t need all those words during a tantrum. Words can make them more confused. Even while in the middle of a tantrum, they are going to try and process what you say, making them more on edge.
Give Clear Directions
In addition to keeping words to a minimum, use the few words you have effectively. Provide short and clear directions about what your child should be doing. This usually comes in the form of a distraction, but to get them there you’ll have to guide them with short and consistent sentences.
One of the best ways to calm an autistic child is by giving them a “happy” distraction. Your child will have at least one happy place, and you should try to find it as soon as possible. Once again, you want to be consistent. Every time a tantrum surfaces, use the happy place. Eventually they will learn to do this by themselves, which in turn makes it easier to sooth them.visit http://oclb.info/introduction-sensory-integration-therapy-parents-children-autism-spectrum-disorder/ to read a good post about sensory integration therapy.
Using Body Language
Yes, your words and tone of voice will play an important role, but incorporate body language as well. Exaggerate the directions you give by pulling faces and pointing. You can even use physical examples and simply show your child what they should be doing.
Create A Routine
As mentioned earlier, consistency and patience will bring you far in calming and soothing your child. What you want to do is create a pattern the moment a tantrum starts up. Use the same tone of voice and go through the same motions. In essence you are trying to teach your child how to self-soothe and consistency is key.
Chances are you are going to have to repeat the directions several times, but this is to be expected. After giving and showing directions, give your child a moment to process the information. If you notice it’s not effective enough, try again.
You are in a challenging position and it’s understandable that patience sometimes seems like a surreal concept. But if you stick to a steady way of handling a tantrum, it will eventually get easier.