7 Relaxation Techniques to Help Your Child With Autism and ADHD

7 Relaxation Techniques to Help Your Child With Autism and ADHD

Key points:

  1. Essential oils, such as lavender, chamomile, and cedarwood, can be used to help children with autism and ADHD relax and focus. Diffusing the oils, using them for aromatherapy massage, or placing them in the child’s room can create a calming environment.
  2. Weighted blankets provide a comforting and calming sensation for children with autism and ADHD. It’s important to find the right weight and size for the child and allow them enough space to move and reposition the blanket. They can be used before bedtime or during the day when the child needs a calming moment.
  3. Visual aids, such as social stories, picture schedules, and picture cards, can help structure activities, provide clarity, and reduce anxiety for children with autism and ADHD. They can be used to teach appropriate behaviors, break down difficult concepts, and keep the child engaged and focused.
  4. Deep pressure massage, using firm strokes and pressure, can help children with autism and ADHD relax and release tension. It improves circulation and can reduce anxiety and improve sleep. It’s important to consult with a doctor before trying any massage techniques and respect the child’s comfort level.
  5. Yoga is an effective relaxation technique for children with autism and ADHD. Practicing mindful breathing and incorporating fun and playful poses can help the child relax, become more mindful, and express themselves. Keeping the session light-hearted and short is important to avoid overwhelming the child.
  6. Listening to calming music, such as slow-tempo or instrumental music, can reduce anxiety, improve concentration, and provide relaxation for children with autism and ADHD. Establishing a routine of listening to calming music for about 20 minutes daily can be beneficial.
  7. White noise, such as natural ocean waves or raindrops, can create a calm and peaceful atmosphere by blocking out distracting noises. It helps regulate brain waves, promotes relaxation, and reduces anxiety. Adjusting the volume to a comfortable level is important for optimal relaxation.

Is your child neurodivergent? If so, it can be difficult to find ways to help them relax and focus. Luckily, there are a number of relaxation techniques that help neurodiverse children. Most importantly, they can help your child manage their symptoms and gain better control of their emotions and behaviour. In this post, we will discuss seven of the most effective relaxation techniques to help your child with autism and ADHD. Whether you are looking for simple strategies or more complex relaxation exercises, this post will provide you with the information you need to help your child relax and find peace.

1) Use Essential Oils

Essential oils can be a great way to help your child with autism or ADHD relax and focus. Different scents have different effects, so you should experiment with different oils and find out which works best for your child. Some of the most calming scents are lavender, chamomile, and cedarwood. I, myself use Vetiver essential oil, just one drop on the finger tips and massage it on the temples. You can diffuse the oils in your home or use them as part of an aromatherapy massage. You can also put a few drops of oil on a cotton ball and place it in their room or near their bed. This can help create a calming environment that will help your child relax and stay focused.

2) Give Them a Weighted Blanket

A weighted blanket is an effective relaxation technique for children with autism and ADHD, my kids love this. The added weight of the blanket simulates a “hugging” sensation, which can be comforting and calming to children who may struggle to express their feelings. Weighted blankets are available in various weights and sizes, so make sure you find the right size and weight for your child.
When using a weighted blanket with a child with autism or ADHD, it’s important to ensure that the blanket isn’t too heavy for them. It should be just heavy enough that it provides a calming pressure on their body but not too heavy to cause discomfort. Additionally, it’s important to ensure that the child has ample space while they’re using the blanket and that they’re able to move and reposition it if needed.
A weighted blanket can be used before bedtime as part of a nightly routine. It can also be used during the day when your child needs a calming moment. To get the most out of the blanket, use it in combination with other relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises or calming music.

3) Use Visual Aids

Visual aids can be a great tool to help your child with autism and ADHD relax. Visual aids can help provide structure, clarity, and a sense of order for those with sensory issues. It can include things like social stories, pictures of each activity step by step. Furthermore, picture cards to help explain difficult concepts. Picture schedules are helpful because they allow the child to anticipate what will happen next, reducing anxiety. with the help of the local SEN (Special Education Needs) association, we use this technique with my youngest as changes brings a lot of anxiety for him. We had pictures representing his different activities of the day laminated . Social stories can be used to teach appropriate behaviours and reactions to different situations. Picture cards are also helpful as they break down difficult concepts into smaller chunks, which can be easier for children to understand. Using visuals can also be a great way to keep your child engaged and focused during activities. Try different visual aids and find out which ones work best for your child.

4) Try Deep Pressure Massage

Deep-pressure massage is a great way to help children with autism and ADHD relax. This type of massage technique uses pressure and firm strokes to help release tension and relax muscles. The massage also increases circulation, helping the body get rid of toxins and promoting healing.
To give your child a deep pressure massage, start by applying a small amount of oil to their back, neck, or shoulders. Then use your palms, fingers, and thumbs to press firmly but gently into their skin, making circular motions in an up-and-down direction. Keep the pressure steady, and be sure to ask your child how it feels so that you can adjust the pressure if necessary.
Deep-pressure massage can be incredibly soothing for children with autism or ADHD. It can help them relax and focus, as well as reduce anxiety and improve sleep. Be sure to consult with your doctor before trying any massage techniques with your child, and never force them to do anything they are uncomfortable with.

5) Do Some Yoga

Yoga is an excellent way to help children with autism and ADHD relax and become more mindful. It can be done in a group setting, or alone in the comfort of your own home. To begin, start by having your child sit comfortably on the floor, close their eyes and focus on their breathing. You can then move through various yoga poses and stretching exercises that are tailored for children. Have your child focus on how the poses make them feel in their body. Encourage them to talk about their experience if they can.
When practising yoga with children who have autism or ADHD, keep it light-hearted and positive. Try to incorporate fun and playful poses, like tree pose or aeroplane pose. Make sure to keep the session short to not overwhelm your child with too much activity. Allow your child to move freely throughout the session and encourage them to express themselves. Above all, ensure that your child feels safe, comfortable, and calm during the practice.

6) Listen to Calming Music

Music is an excellent way to relax and calm your child with autism or ADHD. Listening to soothing music can help reduce anxiety, improve concentration and provide a sense of relaxation. To use this technique, try playing music that has a slow tempo and peaceful sounds. There is lots to chose from on spotify, such as nature, classical, or calming instrumental music. You can find these types of music online or on streaming services like Spotify or amazon music. Consider having your child pick out their favorite calming music, so they can take control of their own relaxation. For most children, it’s important to establish a routine. Listening to this music every day, preferably at the same time for about 20 minutes can be very beneficial. This will help your child feel relaxed and better equipped to deal with the challenges of autism and ADHD. With that being said, my youngest enjoys the music. However, my oldest son prefers to listen to his favourite book on Audible. He loves the soothing voice of Stephen Fry to help him fall asleep at night.

7) Use White Noise

White noises are a great way to provide soothing sound for your child with autism or ADHD. The sound of a white noise can block out distracting noises from the environment, creating a calm and peaceful atmosphere in the room. White noise can also help regulate the brain waves of your child, which can help them relax and reduce anxiety levels.
When using white noise, it’s important to make sure that the sound is not too loud, as this could cause stress or agitation instead of relaxation. The optimal volume should be low enough that it can be heard but not overpowering. You can experiment with different sounds to see which one works best for your child. Popular sounds include natural ocean waves, raindrops, wind chimes, and white noise and can be found on Spotify. By creating a calming atmosphere and blocking out outside distractions, your child can better focus and find peace in their environment.

References:

  • “The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder” by Carol Kranowitz and Lucy Jane Miller – This book discusses sensory processing disorder and provides strategies for helping children with sensory issues, including relaxation techniques.
  • “The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind” by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson – While not specific to autism and ADHD, this book explores strategies for promoting emotional regulation and overall well-being in children, which can be helpful for neurodivergent children as well.
  • “Autism Breakthrough: The Groundbreaking Method That Has Helped Families All Over the World” by Raun K. Kaufman – This book offers insights and techniques based on the Son-Rise Program, which focuses on creating an optimal environment for children with autism to relax, learn, and connect.
  • “The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook for Kids: Help for Children to Cope with Stress, Anxiety, and Transitions” by Lawrence E. Shapiro and Robin K. Sprague – This workbook provides a variety of relaxation techniques, including deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualization exercises, specifically designed for children to manage stress and anxiety.
  • “The Autism Activities Handbook: Activities to Help Kids Communicate, Make Friends, and Learn Life Skills” by Catherine Pascuas – While not solely focused on relaxation techniques, this book offers a wide range of activities and strategies to support children with autism, including sensory-based activities that can help promote relaxation and self-regulation.

These books can provide additional insights and techniques for helping neurodivergent children relax and cope with their symptoms. It’s always recommended to consult with professionals and adapt the strategies to the specific needs and preferences of each child.

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