Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects certain parts of the central nervous system and children (boys and girls - although girls historically are not diagnosed as often as boys are) with ASD are characterised by a spectrum of difficulties they have in communication, lack of emotional understanding in self and others. Also issues around social interaction are common, along with restricted and / or repetitive patterns of behaviour, interests and activities. The cognition and learning capabilities of a child with ASD can also be impacted, as certain areas of the brain are responsible for communication and some cognitive functions can be affected.
Being autistic is not something to be cured or be rid of, it’s like being a Mac in a world of PCs – it’s an incompatibility, but not one that is insurmountable with the right engineer. The most important thing is to have understanding and empathy for their situation.
Those are the starting blocks to opening up a rich world as seen through the eyes of your autistic loved one.
Autistic people tend to hold a lot of anxiety which affects their day-to-day lives and how they are able to cope in a world whose systems were not made for them to function well in. Regulation of their own senses and emotions is also a challenge but it doesn’t mean that recognising & managing those things can’t be learnt, with the right support and strategies.
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), or Tapping is a research-based, alternative and holistic treatment for issues such as PTSD, anxiety, fear of public speaking, test-taking anxiety, specific phobias, depression, pain and illness, and weight control – several of which are common features in the life of an autistic person. Tapping is proven to reduce cortisol (the stress hormone) levels by as much as a quarter, overall stress by over half, and it significantly reduces the symptoms of anxiety and depression as well but does not seem to be a standard recommendation via professionals working with autistic children.
Tapping is a gentle technique that the child can do for themselves, or with an adult, to enable them over time to get through difficult parts of their day and, in the long term, learn to manage their mental health and social challenges.
As an SEN specialist teacher, Tappy Jo has been able to bring EFT to the classroom and help support over 250 children and young people to manage their emotions, most of whom have been on the Autistic spectrum.