For many students on the Autism Spectrum, their biggest challenge is anxiety. This can be anxiety about making choices, friendship, making mistakes, separation anxiety, any change in routine or staff and the list goes on.
Research has shown that more than 75% of all children with an ASD, ODD, ADHD experience INTENSE anxious feelings.
Some students show their anxiety; others have a veneer of coping and keep things bottled up. In either case you need to be aware of what is building anxiety in this student. All students with ASD will need a range of calming activities at school. Some students will need to access these activities more often than others. But in our experience you will need to consider some of the ideas below. Otherwise, the anxiety escalates and results in a meltdown.
Often students who bottle up their anxiety will have a huge meltdown when they get home because of things that have happened at school during the day. When home and school are aware of the triggers for anxiety (eg Relief – Teacher) and both are consistent with calming strategies we find that anxiety levels in the student decrease and we see less shutdowns or meltdowns.
Key Strategy – The Power of Preventative Breaks
You will need to teach students a range of strategies to calm themselves. When you are teaching them, you will begin to notice which ones are more effective at calming. You can then write Social Scripts and use visual cards to help them remember what to do when they feel anxious.
- Students self-regulating their anxiety is a VERY important part of their behaviour management programme.
- A student being able to request a break before a meltdown is a fantastic strategy.
For the many of you that have my book ‘The Ultimate Guide To School & Home’ there are a number of great strategies to help with Anxiety, see these pages:
- 7 Key Strategies to Creating a Calm Environment (see page 81-82)
- 6 Key Strategies for Creating a Calming Area at School and Home (see page 82)
- 5 Key Steps to Developing Self Calming Strategies (see page 83)
- Sensory Processing (page 84-86)
- Meltdown, Shutdowns & Catastrophic Reactions (page 87-89)
If you would like to add this book to your library we have $10 off until the 25 November 2015, now just $40 for over 500 strategies for school & home