How to Calm an Autistic Teenager – Tips and Strategies

How to Calm an Autistic Teenager

Anxiety is a common experience for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The symptoms of anxiety can be different for each person, but some common signs include:

  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Avoidance of certain situations
  • Physical symptoms such as stomach aches or headaches

It is important to recognize these signs of anxiety to help an autistic teenager manage their emotions and behaviors.


Creating a Calm Environment

Creating a calming environment is essential for an autistic teenager. It can help reduce anxiety and stress, and create a safe space for them to relax. One way to do this is by designing a soothing space. This can be a bedroom or a designated area in the house.

When designing a soothing space, it’s important to consider the following:

  • Lighting: Use soft, warm lighting to create a cozy and calming atmosphere. Avoid bright, harsh lighting that can be overstimulating.
  • Colors: Choose calming colors such as blue, green, or purple. Avoid bright, bold colors that can be overwhelming.
  • Textures: Use soft, comfortable textures such as blankets, pillows, and rugs. Avoid rough or scratchy textures that can be uncomfortable.
  • Decorations: Use calming decorations such as plants, nature scenes, or artwork. Avoid clutter and busy patterns that can be overwhelming.


Reducing Sensory Overload

Reducing sensory overload is another way to create a calm environment for an autistic teenager. Sensory overload can occur when there is too much sensory input, such as noise, light, or touch. This can cause anxiety and stress, and make it difficult for them to focus and relax.

To reduce sensory overload, consider the following:

  • Noise: Use noise-canceling headphones or earplugs to reduce noise. Play calming music or white noise to create a soothing atmosphere.
  • Light: Use blackout curtains or blinds to reduce light. Avoid fluorescent lighting that can be harsh and overstimulating.
  • Touch: Use soft, comfortable fabrics for clothing and bedding. Avoid scratchy or uncomfortable fabrics that can be overstimulating.

Creating a calm environment can be beneficial for an autistic teenager. Designing a soothing space and reducing sensory overload can help reduce anxiety and stress, and create a safe space for them to relax.


Communication Techniques

Autistic teenagers may struggle with communication, making it difficult for them to express their needs and emotions. However, several communication techniques can help parents and caregivers better understand and connect with their autistic teens.

Using Clear and Calm Language

When speaking to an autistic teenager, it is important to use clear and concise language. Avoid using idioms, sarcasm, or other forms of figurative language that may be difficult for them to understand. Speak calmly and reassuringly, and give your teenager time to process what you are saying before expecting a response.

It can also be helpful to break down complex instructions into smaller, more manageable steps. For example, instead of saying “Clean your room,” you might say “Pick up your clothes and put them in the hamper, then make your bed.”

Non-Verbal Communication Skills

Non-verbal communication is just as important as verbal communication when connecting with an autistic teenager. Use facial expressions, gestures, and body language to convey your emotions and intentions. For example, a smile or a reassuring pat on the back can go a long way in making your teenager feel understood and supported.

It is also important to pay attention to your teenager’s non-verbal cues. Autistic teenagers may have difficulty expressing themselves verbally, but they may communicate their needs and emotions through body language or facial expressions. By learning to read their non-verbal cues, you can better understand what they are trying to tell you and respond appropriately.


Behavioral Strategies

When it comes to calming an autistic teenager, behavioral strategies can be effective. Two such strategies are positive reinforcement and coping mechanisms.

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement involves rewarding positive behavior. This can be done in a variety of ways, such as offering praise, providing a small gift, or allowing the teenager to engage in a desired activity. The key is to make the reward immediate and specific to the behavior being reinforced. For example, if the teenager engages in a calming activity, such as deep breathing, they could be rewarded with a favorite snack or a few extra minutes of screen time.

Coping Mechanisms

Coping mechanisms are strategies teenagers can use to calm themselves down when they feel overwhelmed or anxious. These can include physical activities, such as exercise or yoga, or sensory activities, such as listening to music or using a stress ball. It’s important to work with teenagers to identify coping mechanisms that work best for them and to encourage them to use these strategies when they feel stressed or anxious.


Professional and Community Support

Caring for an autistic teenager can be challenging, and it is essential to seek professional help and connect with support groups to ensure that they receive the best care possible. Here are some ways to get professional and community support:

Seeking Professional Help

It is important to seek professional help if you notice that your autistic teenager is struggling with their mental health. A therapist who has experience working with people on the autism spectrum can help your teenager develop coping skills and manage anxiety. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a great option for autistic people, and it can help them learn how to manage their emotions and behaviors.

In addition to therapy, medication may be necessary to manage symptoms of anxiety and depression. A psychiatrist can help determine if medication is necessary and prescribe the appropriate medication.

Connecting with Support Groups

Connecting with support groups can be an excellent way to connect with other parents and caregivers who are caring for autistic teenagers. Support groups can provide emotional support, practical advice, and a sense of community.

There are many support groups available online and in person, and it is essential to find one that is a good fit for your family. Some support groups are specific to certain geographic locations, while others are tailored to specific needs, such as parents of autistic teenagers or teenagers with autism.

Leave a Comment

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