4 Tips for Promoting Mental Health Wellness for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder
For youth with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) understanding the social nuances and processing the everyday stressors of school, social media and the social world can be very challenging due to the deficits in social communication and social interaction.
Teaching our kids with autism resiliency and ways to handle stressors from a young age is a way to promote mental health wellness. We can all play a part in our kids’ mental health wellness.
Being kind, listen and provide a safe zone where our kids are comfortable to talk. This opens conversations and gives one great insight into what is going on in a young person’s life. By making connections and showing that you care, you are providing a safety net and social support for our kids with autism.
Know thyself and do what makes you feel good. Teach those in your life to do the same. Sometimes focusing too much on what is upsetting can be detrimental. Our kids with autism sometimes perseverate on things. Redirect them to an activity that they enjoy. This will help to create distance from what is upsetting. Situations and circumstances sometimes seem different after a break. When things have de-escalated, revisit and see if things have changed. Exercise patience and be supportive.
Teach and model healthy relationships that are based on listening and talking openly and honestly. Teaching about friendship and what makes a good friend can help our kids with autism when they may be experiencing a turbulent time. Having an understanding of the qualities that make a healthy relationship can serve as a foundation for our youth if they are exposed to risky behaviour such as drug use, bullying and violence.
Nurture a positive self-image and model this. Our thoughts become our actions and our actions become our habits. Our kids with autism are impressionable and often model our behavior. Model a positive self-image. Be aware of the inner critic. Positive self-talk is uplifting, increases confidence and reduces stress levels. Remember past successes, visualize future ones, and model this for our kids with autism.