Saturday, April 30, 2011
Autism and Anxiety
So very nervous inside all the time. That’s what Temple Grandin says. That’s the way it is for the majority of autistic people. Really, I overflow hoping I can control the stress I feel. The stress is so vicious inside. Even with communication and better skills I still suffer from it.
You see it in so many autistic people. They bolt or dash out. They stim because it soothes them. I see kids who bite and hit themselves, who scream- not to get anything- but to have an outlet, who have meltdowns. These are the reasons why- severe nervousness, stress, internal overflow.
You can imagine how rough this is for people who can’t communicate their ideas and feelings. They get told, “hands down” or “no”, or people think they are not really aware of their emotions. Well, it is a bit different. It is sort of like a car rolling down a hill. It gains acceleration as it rolls. Think of that in an emotional sense.
What can you do to help? Quick removal from the stressful situation. If you need to come back, OK. The interruption is helpful in breaking the momentum. Also, it helps to get some caring. I remember seeing this happen. A non-verbal boy I know was starting to get restless and really angry in a piano lesson. His behaviorist was saying all the ABA things, “Hands quiet”, “All done”, and so on. It was getting worse. My mom was watching and she said to the boy, “I know it is so frustrating when your body doesn’t do what you want it to.”
You know what happened? He relaxed. That’s what happened. Then he leaned on my mom to communicate his gratitude because he had no other way to express himself. This was important for me. Sort of a reminder that being treated with respect and kind empathy helps reduce anxiety, even in a kid everyone labels as “low-functioning”.
That’s all for now.
See you soon.