Coping Techniques

Below are some coping techniques that individuals with autism may use to reduce stress and anxiety.  As all individuals with autism have different challenges, the strategies that work for one person may not work for another.  Some of the coping techniques that individuals use may be harmful or inappropriate, so we have included some strategies in other sections to help in these instances.

 

Calming Techniques

 

  • Relaxation – There are many types of relaxation such as Breath Focus, Body Scan, Visualisation, Progressive Muscle Relaxation and Guided Imagery.

  • Meditation – There are many types of meditation including Mindfulness and Guided Visualisation.

  • Deep Breathing – This will help the individual to relax and focus.

  • Controlled Breathing – This will help the individual to relax and focus.

  • Self-stimulatory Behaviour – is repetitive body movements, movements of an object or verbal noises such as flapping, rocking, spinning, pacing, facial tics, vocal tics, spinning toys, echolalia or repetitive questions.  This may help to regulate the sensory system, helping to calm the individual.  See Self-stimulatory Behaviour section for advice.

 

Avoidance

 

  • Having a safe quiet space i.e. tent or quiet room will give the individual time to process and calm down away from others.

  • Running away – This can be part of the body’s fight or flight response to anxiety.  See Challenging Behaviour section for advice.

  • Shutdown – This can be part of the body’s fight or flight response to anxiety.  See Challenging Behaviour section for advice.

  • Aggression – This can be part of the body’s fight or flight response to anxiety.  See Challenging Behaviour section for advice.

  • Refusals (school, leave the house, demands) – This may be the individuals way of being able to control a situation.  See Challenging Behaviour section for advice.

 

Distraction

 

  • Listen to music.

  • Play on electronics.

  • Reading.

  • Play with favourite items.

  • Rewards and reassurance – This will help turn stressful situations into a more positive experience.

 

Physical

 

  • Exercise – Releases endorphins and reduces stress and anxiety.

  • Sensory Diet – This is a group of activities that will regulate the sensory system, helping to calm the individual.  This can be carried out by an Occupational Therapist.

  • Meltdown – can be part of the body’s fight or flight response to anxiety.  See Challenging Behaviour section for advice.

  • Self-injurious Behaviour – This may help to regulate the sensory system, helping to calm the individual.  See Challenging Behaviour section for advice

  • Massage – This will help reduce stress and may also regulate the sensory system.

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