Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Autism Discussion Page - Strategies for Reducing Stress and Anxiety

Does your child become stressed or anxious in new or overwhelming situations? Dealing with this anxiety and stress can be very difficult at times. Autism Discussion Page has written two posts recently on tips for reducing stress and anxiety. Some of the ideas may be ones that you are already doing, but it is worth checking out.  It is very well written, and it provides a good list of things to do and look for.

The first post begins:

Start with the nervous system!

There are many strategies for combating stress and anxiety, but the first step is to assure that the nervous system is taken care of. A disorganized nervous system will leave you prone to anxiety. This is part one of a series of articles on combating stress.

Anxiety is major challenge for many people on the spectrum. Their nervous system is often out-of-sync with the rest of the world; constantly being bombarded with sensory, social, and informational overload. Part of this distress is internal factors which create disorganization in the nervous system. One of the first steps in managing anxiety is to start with the foundation of feeding the nervous system what it needs. There are three factors important for the nervous system:

1. Diet: A healthy diet is very important for keeping the nervous system strong and organized. Many children have food intolerances, allergies, and problems processing proteins, sugar, preservatives, food colorings, and other additives. Also, with food sensitivities and preferences, it is often hard to provide a well nourished diet. Although difficult to follow, establishing a good diet is important to organizing the nervous system.

2. Sleep and rest: Sleep is also important for regulating the nervous system and keeping the immune system effective. Approximately 50% of children on the spectrum have sleeping problems. If the nervous system is not getting enough sleep, it will be taxed and easily fatigued, slowing down an already impaired processing system. The more drained the nervous system the higher the anxiety. Also, because their nervous systems are often stressed throughout the day, it is important for people on the spectrum to take frequent breaks to rebound and re-energize. Their nervous systems drain quickly and need frequent breaks to reorganize. As their nervous system becomes taxed, their processing abilities deteriorate very quickly. 

Head over to Autism Discussion Page on Facebook to see the third factor, along with some other great tips. There are two different parts to check out: Part 1  Part 2 

What things do you do to help lessen stress and anxiety for the children in your life?

Heather S. works hard to meet the individual needs of her students when it comes to reducing stress and anxiety.

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