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Updated by Autism Parenting Magazine on May 11, 2020
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Calming Sensory Lights Can Help Calm and Soothe

Manchester-based lighting company Valuelights, part of the LSE Retail Group founded in 2011, recently ran a competition to raise awareness of how calming sensory lights for autism can have a positive effect on children; helping develop, balance and encourage creativity and well-being within the home.

Calming Sensory Lights Can Help Calm and Soothe - Autism Parenting Magazine

Manchester-based lighting company Valuelights, part of the LSE Retail Group founded in 2011, recently ran a competition to raise awareness of how calming sensory lights for autism can have a positive effect on children; helping develop, balance and encourage creativity and well-being within the home.

Advice on Understanding and Calming Sensory Overload in Children - Autism Parenting Magazine

As a pediatric occupational therapist and a mother, I try my best to fully understand each child and his/her sensory needs, both at home and in my practice.  Children living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) tend to experience sensory overload or adverse reactions to sensory input more frequently than typically developing children. In addition, toddlers and young children do not have fully integrated sensory systems and may experience sensory overload more often than older children.  As a result, these children have a greater tendency to move from PNS (parasympathetic nervous system response, a calm and alert state) to SNS (sympathetic nervous system response, a fight or flight state) in the presence of certain sensory stimuli.  These children may perceive sensory input that seems “normal” or “routine” to adults as overwhelming or even painful. This explains why they often experience a fight or flight (sometimes known as a meltdown or an adrenaline response) in the presence of these sensory stimuli.

Top Ideas to Create a Calming Sensory Bedroom Space - Autism Parenting Magazine

Phones, television, computers, wires galore. Sound effects, flashing lights. Here they come, hit the floor! Sensory Overload Is The Malady Of Modernity. There is no question that the over-stimulation of our senses is out of control and has become a huge cause of stress and anxiety.

Top Ways to Interrupt the Meltdown Cycle - Autism Parenting Magazine

Meltdowns are often caused by sensory issues. The world is often too loud, too bright, too stinky, or too silent. Even if a meltdown is triggered by something else, adrenaline will heighten our senses more. This is a natural survival instinct, but people with autism go into survival mode more often. This leads to a constant battle with confusion, adrenaline, and the senses.

Autism Therapies and Solutions - The Ultimate Guide

Looking for the best autism therapies for your child? Download our free PDF now and learn more about the most successful autism therapies and solutions for children on the spectrum.

Simple Ways to Help Your Child with ASD Sleep Without Medicine - Autism Parenting Magazine

Sleeplessness affects children with autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), Cerebral Palsy (CP) and other conditions, which can cause difficulties in learning and produce challenging behavior in the child.  Most often, poor sleep occurs due to problems in achieving an appropriate sleep-awake cycle. There can be various causes for sleep problems, such as the need to sleep more, discomfort while sleeping alone, and separation anxiety issues while sleeping in a different room than parents.

Mental Health and Anxiety Treatment with Autism: There is Help - Autism Parenting Magazine

If your child has autism spectrum disorder (ASD), he/she is far more likely to have one or more additional disorders—such as anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or a mood disorder. Current estimates tell us more than 50 percent of children with ASD have significant anxiety.

How Craniosacral Therapy Can Make a Big Difference with ASD - Autism Parenting Magazine

Craniosacral therapy is a manual, hands-on form of therapy that promotes improved health, both physical and emotional, via gentle touch to the head, neck, and spine.  When possible, the individual receiving craniosacral therapy will lie down while the therapist uses his/her hands to focus on key symptom-relieving regions.  The therapist maintains physical contact throughout the session, which may last as little as fifteen minutes, but often lasts as long as an hour or more. The therapist will then perform a gradual, gentle series of manipulations intended to promote muscular and emotional release.  The goal is to tune into the craniosacral rhythm of the recipient’s body, working to move the muscles and bones in time with that rhythm.

Simple Ways to Help Relieve Your Child's Stress: Calming Cookie Dough - Autism Parenting Magazine

Well, you feed your child’s sensory system a large batch of cookie dough!  What?  Not edible cookie dough, of course.  Engage your child in this calming “cookie dough” activity, and it can help him/her to organize the sensory system, relax, and be better suited to handle life’s stressors.  This activity works because your child (the cookie dough) receives deep pressure and proprioceptive input from the “rolling pin” (the therapy ball).  Deep pressure and proprioceptive input elicit a calming response in the body because they can lower stress levels, reassure the body of its position in space, and facilitate the release of dopamine and norepinephrine, which are two neurotransmitters responsible for mood and behavior regulation (Buckley-Reen & Dickson, 2015 and research from Edelson, et al.).

New Ways Autistic Families Can Empower Themselves - Autism Parenting Magazine

Having a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) presents many challenges. As with most challenges in life, it can’t be entirely surmounted without the help of others. However, political whims and prevailing economic conditions can have an impact on programs and services. Even the most effective organizations can lose their funding if funders choose to revise their priorities. School programs can be diluted or eliminated. Insurance programs can be restructured or wiped out altogether. When times are uncertain and your access to resources is threatened, it’s time to look for new ways to move forward.