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There are many ways parents and caregivers can help manage a child’s stims, it might be more effective to instill self-regulation as well. When a child learns to manage emotions, then stimming can be lessened as a result.

Management of autism emotion

Children with autism not only have difficulty recognizing the emotions of others, but also their own. While it can be challenging to have an autistic child describe what he/she is feeling, it is possible.

Here are some ways to teach children with autism how to recognize and regulate emotions:

  • Explain why the child is behaving a certain way. This is the first step towards helping him/her understand emotions. Let the child know that everyone goes through it, but there are ways to overcome it.
  • Understand the child’s sensitivities and unique reactions to situations and create an action plan. If the child gets anxious in a noisy room, teach him/her to find a quiet place to calm down.
  • When there is something that will cause the child stress, inform him/her beforehand and challenge the child to go through it with the promise of a reward when he/she succeeds.

Self-regulation and autism

Self-regulation is the ability to control an urge to do something and, on the other hand, do something even when one does not want to. Both of these can be challenging for a person with autism.  There are many ways to help a child with autism self-regulate, but it is a process and will take some time before it becomes second nature. The ultimate goal in achieving self-regulation is to be aware of emotions and act before it manifests itself into stress-induced behaviors like stimming, tantrums, or meltdowns.

Children will learn to self-regulate when they are forced to deal with situations that are stressful for them rather than avoid them. Teach the child while in the undesirable state to help him/her get through it; Over time, the child will be able to overcome the negative experience on his/her own.

Being mindful or self-aware can also be the key for children with autism to self-regulate. Meditation activities like yoga can help a child become self-reflective and, eventually, self-regulative. As a result, a child with autism can better handle difficult situations, manage emotions, and avoid resorting to repetitive behaviors such as stimming.

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