How EFT Tapping for Autism Reduce Anxiety and Build Connections

EFT Tapping for Autism

EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) tapping is a technique that involves gently tapping on specific acupressure points on the face and body while focusing on a particular emotion or issue. This helps to release any emotional blocks or disturbances in the energy system that may be contributing to symptoms or behaviors.

The tapping sends signals to the amygdala, the part of the brain that controls stress response. This interrupts the stress response and allows the body and mind to return to a calm, relaxed state. As the mind and body relax, new neural pathways can form to create more positive emotions and behaviors going forward.

The basic technique involves tapping on 12 acupressure points while repeating a phrase that acknowledges the emotion or issue at hand. The points tapped include spots on the eyebrows, under the eyes, under the nose, chin, collar bone, under the arm, and top of the head. The words help focus attention on the problem so it can be released.

EFT tapping has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, PTSD, OCD, and other conditions. It helps restore emotional balance by releasing stuck energy patterns and clearing the way for more positive feelings and behaviors. For autistic individuals who often struggle with emotional regulation, EFT offers a simple, non-invasive way to gain more control over emotions.


EFT Tapping for Autism To Regulate Emotion

Many autistic individuals struggle with emotional regulation. They tend to experience emotions more intensely and have difficulty calming themselves down when overwhelmed. Some common challenges include:

  • Meltdowns – Intense emotional outbursts involving yelling, crying, or even aggression. Meltdowns are not willful behaviors but rather an involuntary reaction to feeling emotionally flooded.

  • Anxiety – High levels of anxiety are very common in autism. Autistics may worry obsessively or experience panic attacks in social situations or during transitions and changes.

  • Emotional empathy – Autistics often have trouble identifying and understanding the emotions of others. This makes it difficult to respond appropriately in social interactions.

  • Alexithymia – Some autistic individuals have a hard time labeling and describing their own emotions and inner experiences.

  • Sensory sensitivity – Hypersensitivity to sounds, textures, tastes, or other stimuli can easily trigger intense feelings of irritation, fear, disgust, or anger.

EFT tapping can help autistic children and adults better regulate their emotions and avoid becoming emotionally overloaded. The gentle tapping provides calming sensory input while focusing on accepting feelings. This lowers emotional reactivity and activates the parasympathetic nervous system.

For meltdowns triggered by a specific situation, tapping on acupressure points can help interrupt the brain’s stress response. Tapping while voicing accepting statements like “I’m feeling frustrated but I’m still okay” can calm the child. Targeting anger, fear, or other overwhelming emotions with tapping can help dissipate those feelings and restore a sense of control.

Tapping works well preventively too. Doing a few rounds of tapping first thing in the morning helps start the day in a calm focused state. Tapping with children to acknowledge worries or anxiety before a transition or social event can prevent subsequent meltdowns. Daily tapping gives autistic kids and adults a tool to self-soothe and emotionally reset.


EFT Tapping for Autism To Improve Social Skills

Social interactions can be challenging for autistic individuals. Many struggle with understanding social cues, communicating reciprocally, and regulating emotions during social situations. These difficulties can lead to anxiety, avoidance of social situations, and isolation.

EFT tapping can help autistic improve social skills by increasing emotional awareness and regulation. By tapping on acupressure points, EFT allows individuals to process and release difficult emotions that arise during social interactions. This helps them connect to their feelings, understand them, and prevent emotional overwhelm.

some ways to use EFT for social skills:

  • Tap before entering a social situation to relieve anxiety and bring calm. Example setup statement: “Even though I feel nervous about going to this event, I deeply and completely accept myself.”

  • Tap when feeling overwhelmed during a social interaction. Example reminder phrase: “I am safe and at peace.”

  • Tap on feelings of rejection, judgment, or not fitting in after a social experience. Example setup statement: “Even though I felt different than others at the party, I deeply and completely accepted myself.”

  • Tap to release anger, sadness, or embarrassment after a negative social encounter.

  • Tap regularly to increase overall emotional awareness and regulation during social interactions.

Tapping can help autistic face social situations with more confidence, emotional stability, and connection to others. By releasing difficult emotions and bringing self-acceptance, EFT provides skills for authentic social engagement.


EFT for Reducing Repetitive Behaviors

Repetitive behaviors, also called “stimming”, are very common in autism. These behaviors may include hand flapping, rocking, spinning, pacing, repetitive noises, lining up toys, and more. Many autistics use stimming as a way to self-soothe when feeling overwhelmed or anxious.

The soothing tapping of EFT can provide an alternative calm and regulating sensory input for autistics. Tapping acupressure points with the fingertips activates the body’s calming parasympathetic nervous system. This can help reduce the urge to stim when distressed.

Here are some examples of how to use EFT tapping to minimize repetitive behaviors:

  • When noticing signs that rocking or hand flapping is about to start, begin tapping through the EFT sequence. Breathe deeply and focus on the sensations of tapping.

  • If a child starts hitting themselves or banging their head, gently guide them through tapping on the eyebrows, side of the eyes, under the eyes, under the nose, chin, collarbone, and the arm. Have them repeat calming phrases aloud.

  • To reduce pacing or spinning, try this tapping script: “Even though I feel the need to pace and spin, I deeply and completely accept myself. I’m doing my best to stay calm. This feeling will pass.” Tap through all the points while repeating it.

  • For vocal stims like repetitive noises, tap the EFT points while vocalizing more positive affirmations, such as “I am calm” or “I feel peaceful.”

With practice over time, EFT tapping may help reduce the frequency and intensity of stimming behaviors. Always have patience and never force an autistic person to stop stimming against their will. Think of EFT as offering a positive alternative for self-regulation.


EFT Tapping for Autism For Better Sleep

Many autistic individuals struggle with sleep issues like insomnia, restless sleep, and difficulty falling and staying asleep. Sleep disturbances can exacerbate challenges with emotional regulation, behavior, focus, and meltdowns.

EFT tapping before bedtime can help calm the nervous system and promote restful sleep. Tapping sends signals to the amygdala, the brain’s emotional center, to turn off the fight or flight response. This allows the body to relax and make melatonin. The repetitive motions of tapping also provide soothing sensory input.

Here is a simple tapping script to do before bed:

  • Take a deep breath and repeat: “I deeply and completely accept myself.” Tap the karate chop point.

  • “I release all my worries and stress from the day.” Tap the eyebrow point.

  • “I let all tension in my body go.” Tap the side of the eye.

  • “My mind is calm and peaceful.” Tap under the eye.

  • “I feel safe and relaxed.” Under the nose.

  • “I drift off to restful sleep.” Under the mouth.

  • “My body recharges as I sleep.” Collarbone point.

  • “I awake feeling refreshed and energized.” Under the arm.

  • Take another deep breath and repeat: “I relax and sleep deeply.” Karate chop point.

This tapping script can be adapted as needed. Experiment with different phrases about feeling safe, relaxed, calm, or sleepy. Make bedtime tapping part of your nightly routine for better autism sleep.


EFT Tapping Points

The EFT tapping points correspond to energy meridians used in acupuncture. Tapping on these meridian endpoints helps restore balance to your body’s energy system.

The basic EFT sequence involves tapping on the following points while focusing on your target issue:

  • Karate Chop (side of hand) – Set your intention and say the setup statement such as “Even though I have this [problem], I deeply and completely accept myself” while tapping the karate chop point.

  • Eyebrow – Tap the inner edges of the eyebrows, closest to the bridge of the nose.

  • Side of Eye – Tap on the bones under the eyes.

  • Under Eye – Tap under the eyes, aligning with the pupil.

  • Under Nose – Tap under the nose, aligning with the nostrils.

  • Chin – Tap the indent between the bottom lip and chin.

  • Collarbone – Tap the inner edges of the collarbone.

  • Under Arm – Tap under the arms, in line with the nipples.

When tapping, use two or more fingertips and tap 5-7 times on each point. Tap with moderate pressure. Say a reminder phrase at each point about the issue you are addressing. Breathe deeply and notice any shifting or changes in sensations, emotions, or thoughts.


EFT Tapping Scripts

Tapping scripts can help address common challenges faced by autistic individuals. Here are some sample scripts focused on social anxiety, emotional regulation, and sleep.

For Social Anxiety

Even though I feel anxious in social situations, I deeply and completely accept myself.
(Tap on karate chop point)

Even though I get nervous around other people, I’m a worthy person.
(Karate chop)

Even though I feel different and awkward, I’m doing the best I can.
(Karate chop)

My social anxiety (Eyebrow)
All this self-judgment (Side of the eye)
Feeling scared and alone (Under the eye)
Other people make me nervous (Under the nose)
I get tongue-tied (Chin)
I’m afraid to be myself (Collarbone)
Releasing my social anxiety now (Under my arm)
I accept myself just as I am (Top of my head)

Take a deep breath and repeat the tapping around until you feel a shift.

For Emotional Regulation

Even though I feel overwhelmed by my emotions, I deeply and completely accept myself.
(Karate chop)

Even though I struggle to regulate my feelings, I’m doing my best.
(Karate chop)

Even though I get easily upset and frustrated, I’m working on it.
(Karate chop)

All these big feelings (Eyebrow)
Hard to handle the intensity (Side of the eye)
Emotions feel too much (Under the eye)
I get upset and lash out (Under the nose)
Releasing the overwhelm (Chin)
Learning how to self-soothe (Collarbone)
It’s okay to feel my emotions (Underarm)
I can handle this (Top of my head)

Repeat until you feel calmer.

For Better Sleep

Even though I struggle with sleep, I deeply and completely accept myself.
(Karate chop)

Even though my mind races at night, I am doing my best.
(Karate chop)

Even though I feel tired and restless, I forgive myself.
(Karate chop)

All this anxiety about sleep (Eyebrow)
Trouble settling down (Side of the eye)
Mind spinning with thoughts (Under eye)
Hard to get comfortable (Under the nose)
Releasing the frustration (Chin)
Ready for deep rest now (Collarbone)
Allowing sleep to come (Under arm)
I can rest now (Top of head)

Repeat until you feel sleepy and relaxed.


Tips for Using EFT with Autistic Children

Introducing EFT tapping to autistic children requires some creativity and patience. Here are some tips:

  • Make it playful and fun. Young kids may not understand the purpose of tapping. Instead, create a game where they have to tap each point a certain number of times or in a certain order. Give the points silly names. Turn it into a tapping adventure.

  • Use a light touch. Some autistic kids are sensitive to light touch. Use just a fingertip to tap and allow them to tap gently on themselves.

  • Offer incentives. Sticker charts, small prizes, or rewards can encourage a reluctant child to participate in tapping sessions. Praise and positive reinforcement go a long way.

  • Make it part of a routine. Consistency and ritual are important for autistic kids. Adding a daily tapping routine can be calming and reassuring.

  • Go at their pace and keep it brief. Start with just tapping a few points for 1-2 minutes. Gradually build up as their interest and tolerance increase.

  • Lead by example. Demonstrate tapping on yourself and describe how it makes you feel calm. Let them observe a few times before expecting participation.

  • Avoid restraint. If a child strongly resists, do not force them. Try again later or look for alternatives like tapping their favorite stuffed animal.

  • Be patient and persistent. Introducing something new takes time. With creativity and compassion, EFT can become an empowering self-regulation skill for autistic children.


EFT for Autism Meltdowns

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) can be an effective tool for preventing and stopping meltdowns in autistic children. Meltdowns are intense emotional reactions characterized by crying, screaming, self-injury, or aggression. They are often triggered by sensory overload, transitions, frustration, or unexpected changes in routine.

EFT tapping sends calming signals to the amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for the fight-or-flight response. By tapping on acupressure points while focusing on feelings of distress, EFT can quickly calm the nervous system and stop a meltdown in its tracks. Parents and caregivers can use EFT tapping scripts with the child or tap along with them.

Here is a simple EFT script for meltdowns:

Even though I’m feeling out of control right now, I deeply and completely accept myself.
Even though it’s too much right now, I’m doing the best I can.
I’m feeling really angry/sad/scared/frustrated right now and that’s okay.

Tap through each EFT point while repeating these phrases:
This feeling won’t last forever.
I’m safe right now.
I can get through this.
I’m doing my best.
I accept how I feel.
I’m going to be okay.

It can help to validate the child’s emotions, speak gently, and avoid judgment. If the child resists tapping, the parent can tap on their own body while focusing on sending the child calm and comfort. Tapping can also be done preemptively when meltdown triggers are present. With regular practice, EFT can reduce the frequency and intensity of autistic meltdowns.

Alyssa’s 5-year-old son Jack has frequent meltdowns when transitioning activities. She started using EFT tapping scripts with him during these moments. “Even just 30 seconds of tapping helps Jack calm down quickly. Over time, his meltdowns have become much shorter and less severe. EFT is a tool that allows him to self-regulate his emotions.” EFT gives autistic children a coping mechanism to manage meltdowns.


The Benefits of Daily EFT Practice

Regularly tapping with EFT can have many benefits for autistic individuals and their families. Making EFT a daily habit can help rewire the brain over time to better regulate emotions, manage anxiety, and cope with challenging situations.

Some of the key benefits of daily EFT practice include:

  • Improved emotional regulation – By tapping on acupressure points connected to calming the amygdala, EFT can help reduce emotional reactivity and intensity. Daily practice strengthens neural pathways that support self-soothing.

  • Less anxiety and sensory overwhelm – Tapping helps clear fight-or-flight stress hormones and brings the nervous system back into balance. This allows autistic individuals to feel more centered and able to handle stimuli.

  • Fewer meltdowns – With regular tapping, individuals learn to recognize signs of rising anxiety or emotional overload early on. Tapping can help prevent them from reaching the full meltdown stage.

  • Better focus and learning – When anxiety is lower, individuals can pay attention and process information more easily. Tapping before school or therapy can optimize focus and retention.

  • Improved sleep – Tapping in the evening can calm the mind and body, making it easier to fall asleep and get restorative rest. Restful sleep enhances brain function.

  • Healthier relationships – As children learn to self-regulate with tapping, parents often see reductions in confrontational behavior. Tapping also allows autistic individuals to engage socially with less stress.

  • Increased self-confidence – Mastering tapping techniques empowers individuals to independently manage difficult emotions as they arise. This builds confidence to handle challenges.

Making tapping a consistent daily habit allows the brain and nervous system to recalibrate over time for optimal regulation and processing. Even just 5 minutes of tapping each day can lead to positive changes. Set a recurring reminder to tap and make it part of your routine.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *