Letting your autistic child home regulate


Letting your autistic child home regulate

At school, your autistic child spends four to six hours working hard to follow the school rules, concentrate on his/her schoolwork, deal with overstimulating environments, process information that other kids can deal with quickly, and constantly trying to figure out how to regulate their bodies.

It’s often a lot to handle.

Frequently, my child comes home and has to immediately unwind. He had kept it all together for an entire day, he needs a break.

I had a therapist tell me a story once:  “I went to a conference once. One class at this conference was taught by a man who was on the autism spectrum himself. He told us the first thing he does when he arrives home every night is immediately sit in a rocking chair in his living room and rock for 20 to 30 minutes. He said he had to do this! The stress of keeping himself under control all day needed to be relieved the moment he was in his own home. He just needed it.”

I often think of this story when I watch my child run laps, flap, make his “funny noises,” or ride his scooter back and forth.

I remind myself that he needs this time to regulate his body.

There are many times when he doesn’t have an opportunity to regulate himself. He had his needs.

He does have opportunities at school. My child is allowed to communicate with his aide if he needs a break to regulate himself. The breaks are typically 5 minutes long and he is encouraged to keep them at a minimum.

Still, they are not necessarily at his whim. Often, the teacher and the aide need to find the best time for such breaks. The time works best for my child, the teacher, and the class.

However, at home is usually a different story.

At home, my child basically regulates himself.

When he was younger, we would break up his time just to make sure he wasn’t regulating for two hours. Now that he’s older, he seems to do what he needs, and then stops himself.

We spent years making sure our child doesn’t get too locked into one thing for long extended periods of time. And, this included his at-home regulating. It’s not an exact science, but we do keep ourselves aware of maintaining a balance.

Now that he does it himself, we don’t worry about him as much.

We try to maintain a balance. That’s all they’re seeking as well. A way to balance their bodies and their very busy lives. We believe this thinking forces the parents and the child to all be on the same page. 

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