Friday, 1 November 2013

Halfterm Anxiety

Halfterm can be unsettling for a child with ASD as the routine they have got used to for the past 6 or 7 weeks suddenly changes. Most children enjoy not having to go to school but when you have ASD it can make you feel more anxious, as you aren't sure what you are going to do each day and there are more gaps for free time than if you were at school for the day.
Our youngest son struggles with the holidays and it is only now as we approach the end of the week that he is getting used to the fact that there is no school this week. I've lost count of the number of times he has asked me 'is it school today, how many sleeps until school'. A countdown chart works well for these situations as a visual aid to help him understand when he will be going back to school.  Making a timetable of what activities you are going to do each day will also help to form the new routine for the holidays.
We tend to find there are more meltdowns in the holidays and I'm always looking for new ways to help calm our kids and distract them from their anxieties. Today I have made a glitter bottle - fill 2/3 of bottle with water then add a bottle of glitter glue and some normal glitter.  Make sure the top is done up tightly, shake the bottle and watch the glitter float around the bottle until it settles on the bottom. It is relaxing and visually stimulating.  Our daughter has already asked if she can keep this in her bedroom.

Another calming tool I've experimented with is a glass jar filled with small pieces of pipe cleaners. Use a magnet on the outside of the jar and watch the pipe cleaners magically lift up to the top of the jar. At the moment we have been using magnetic power stones to move the pipe cleaners up and down, but when I find a big traditional shaped magnet I think there will be more power behind the magnet and so more pipe cleaners will move around in one go.

Both of these are simple ideas that may help to reduce anxiety and to relax an ASD child.  If it helps to stop a meltdown or can be used as a calming distraction, it's worth the effort of making them. 

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