Ways to ease anxiety in non-verbal kids with ASD
A lot of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) suffer from anxiety. It is more severe in those who are non-verbal as they may struggle to explain what it is that is bothering them. In order to address this issues, there are some ways that you can try to help non-verbal kids improve their communication and coping skills.
Here are some specific strategies that can benefit non-verbal kids with ASD:
- Seek Professional Help
A behavioral therapist is the best person to help non-verbal kids with ASD. They can help you with tried and tested strategies to ease anxiety. Seek their opinion before trying anything and follow their recommended strategies at home. Find books on how to help children overcome anxiety and fears, and read them for motivation.
- Create a phrase to soothe Anxiety
Once you have identified what it is that makes your child anxious, create a few phrases around it. For instance, if your kid gets anxious upon seeing a dog, use phrases like, dogs are man’s best friend or dogs are friendly. Use these phrases when you’re talking to your child so they know that they needn’t fear dogs. Children who are completely nonverbal can benefit a great deal merely by hearing the phrase.
- Show kids how to perceive emotions
When kids recognize their emotions, they are able to develop better coping strategies to overcome anxiety. Show your child various emotions with the help of his favorite character. You can use a toy or a cartoon clip of their favorite character, such as Mickey Mouse, and use phrases like “Mickey feels scared.” This helps them understand more about why they are scared. Even if the child is minimally verbal or nonverbal, they can still understand the language.
- Reduce Sensory Overload
When children with ASD are exposed to sensory overload, it leads to an increase in their anxiety levels. Try to create a quiet and soothing place for them as you help them deal with their anxiety. Schedule quiet time for your child before they start their day and deal with various activities.
- Re-enact anxiety provoking Situations
Talk to your child’s behavioral therapist and discuss with your child about what scares him the most. As he talks, slowly introduce his favorite cartoon or movie character and enact a scene with him. For instance, if the child loves Mickey Mouse and is afraid of dogs, start off by making him familiar with both Mickey Mouse toy and the dog. Enact how Mickey Mouse gets scared too upon seeing the dog. When you’re halfway through the story, give your child the toy and move it towards the dog.
Work on these strategies, along with the suggested therapy that your child’s behavioral therapists has listed out. This will help the non-verbal ASD child deal well with anxiety.