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5 Ways to Help An Autistic Family Member Stim

If you have a loved one who has autism, then you want to prepare him or her for adulthood. It is common for people with autism to stim. Stimming helps when feeling excited, overwhelmed, happy, and anxious. However, your loved one may find it difficult to control this behavior. Read on to find out ways to help your loved one to manage stimming.

Send to ABA Therapy

Applied Behavioral Analysis is one of the ways to manage autism. This type of therapy uses a system of reward and consequences to teach desired behaviors. It is used to end undesirable behaviors while teaching desired behaviors and skills. Examples of stimming may include hand flapping, making loud noises, hitting, hair twirling, nail-biting, or hitting head against a wall. ABA can be used to stop tantrums, to help a child sit quietly, reduce outbursts, to encourage the person to share, and more.

It also can be used to teach complex and straightforward skills. On the other hand, if your loved one follows the instructions, then you can use ABA to reward him or her for comprehending it.

Support Your Loved One’s Stimming Style

Supporting your loved one’s interests is another way to help your loved one to manage stimming. While your loved one may have different interests, a very common interest amongst those with Autism is enjoying trains. An autism train interest helps with developing cognitive skills, gaining technical know-how, and creates sensory stimulation. You can create this interest from Pentrex shows.

These shows have information about rail transport and showcase a variety of trains. People who watch these videos become train buffs. If your loved one is having a meltdown, then you should sit him or her down in front of the TV and put in a Pentrex video. Watching the trains on TV is a way to calm down your loved one. Train-based educational tools also can improve your loved one language abilities and make him or her a lifelong fan.

Consider Medication

Medications for treating autism are used for treating the symptoms that come along with this condition. This treatment should not be used alone, but with other behavioral therapies. Risperidone and aripiprazole are antipsychotic drugs approved by the FDA for autism. They can be used to treat irritability.

Fluoxetine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. This drug is FDA approved for the treatment of anxiety and depression. However, Fluoxetine has been used in trials to treat autistic patients with anxiety.

Naltrexone is another drug that can be used for treating autistic symptoms. It is FDA approved to treat opioids and alcohol addiction. However, it has been used to treat repetitive self-injury behavior in patients with autism.

Change of Social Environment

It helps to understand why your loved one is stimming. This behavior can occur from an underlying issue with anxiety. Specific triggers in your loved one’s environment may be causing this behavior. For example, classrooms can be large, loud, and filled with students. It may help to put an autistic student in a smaller class. This change of environment may lessen the child’s anxiety.

Some people on the spectrum do not like loud noises. You should avoid noisy environments or have your autistic loved one wear headphones. It also helps to provide someone with autism with clear expectations to reduce anxiety.

Coach to Change Stim Behavior

Some people with autism can stop stimming with practice or coaching. If your loved one starts hand flapping, then you want to put down his or her hands gently. The point is to eliminate sensory pleasure from the behavior. You want to stop the behavior as soon as possible. Stopping the stimming means the less time the person gets pleasure from the act.

Family members should encourage their loved one to practice restraint. They can use a reward system with tokens. When your loved one successfully exercises control, then he or she gets a token. This token can be cashed in for a reward like to watch the person’s favorite Pentrex show.

This behavior will not stop overnight and may not ultimately end. However, it is crucial to reduce public outbursts.

Stimming should not be forbidden unless the behavior is dangerous. It is often used as a coping mechanism when in a challenging situation. However, you should provide your loved one with the tools and support to help with managing feelings.

Tim Esterdahl

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