In Bugsley’s Blog, we talk a lot about issues faced by autistic children, aspergers and sensory processing disorder. In regards to these conditions, there are a lot of things that we, as a community, have learned over the years, and there are a lot of things that we still don’t know. But, one thing we know for sure is that children living with autism, aspergers and sensory processing disorder grow up to be adults with the same conditions.
Many of the issues that these children live with, they will continue to live with as they become adults and this can lead to added stress. And just like anyone else, autistic people can have stress from many areas of everyday life. An autistic person that is not handling stress well may have any of these key signs: anxiety, crying spells, depression, desperation, difficulty concentrating, feeling overwhelmed, hopelessness, lack of enjoyment, nervousness, sadness, thoughts of suicide, trouble sleeping or worry. But, there are lots of ways to help people living with autism to cope and manage stress. Here are several.
Help Them Engage in a Hobby – Hobbies help people to relax, recharge and are a good release of stress. The possibilities for a rewarding hobby are as numerous as the stars. Perhaps one may be interested in a creative hobby like music, painting, knitting or woodwork. Reading is a good hobby. Some like mysteries or poetry. Maybe writing poetry, as well as reading. Maybe a sport like soccer or running. Do a little exploring to find out what you enjoy.
Let Them Make Home Decisions – Sometimes loss of control is a trigger of stress. Returning some control, even small things, can help alleviate some stress. Choosing what to eat for dinner, what to watch on TV, when to complete household chores and what to do on a Saturday afternoon may be things that will help give back some lost control.
Encourage Them to Be Open About Emotions – Holding back on one’s emotions may greatly contribute to stress. Helping and encouraging talk about them can help manage some stress.
Stay Involved – Some autistic people are high functioning, while some are not. As high-functioning autistics become teens and then adults, there is a tendency to step back and let them take the reins. And this is okay, but stay involved in their lives. Keep abreast of their progress in high school and college. Engage in conversation about their interests and other aspects of their lives. The interest and encouragement can help lower stress.
Offer Support – Finally, offer plenty of understanding, support and reassurance to help them work through their stresses.