Raising a child with autism certainly has its challenges. Families, in particular parents, face chronic stress, frustration, anxiety, and other mental health and wellness concerns on a daily basis. You may not feel you have the necessary support systems or resources to help you through the struggles. Yet, with the help of mindfulness interventions, counseling, and programs, these challenges can be met with optimism and help set purposeful plans in place. Through proper counseling sessions and mindfulness programs, professionals can help parents and children learn mindfulness-based strategies that can fit easily and naturally into their daily lives.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness refers to the state of being aware, in the present, and with purpose. It guides one to deal with situations and people in a non-judgmental, non-reactive way. It leads you towards more appropriate responses by teaching you to disconnect your normal emotional response to a given situation. Mindfulness can improve your mental health and wellness through creating a mental discipline by asking you to direct attention to:
- Bodily sensations and sensory experiences
The Reality of Stress on Children with Autism
Children with autism feel their environment’s pressure and stress, demanding they adopt and perform accordingly. Yet, the mounting anxiety and stress children with autism experience can harm their mental health and wellness. Many children with autism struggle with:
- Nervous behaviors
- Worsening of social anxiety and obsession
The increase in such behaviors may lead to further inability to cope with changes in their environment and routines. They may also experience an increase in sensory overload. Adding mindfulness practices into their daily routines can provide them with the coping techniques necessary to calm fears and anxieties while allowing them to hit the reset button and try again. They can learn to self-soothe, controlling emotions, and urges through mindfulness techniques.
Benefits of Parents Practicing Mindfulness
Adopting mindfulness strategies can help parents adjust to the daily stressors of raising children with autism.
Studies have shown a reduction in parental feelings of:
- Diminished quality of life
- Isolation and loneliness
- Emotional and physical exhaustion
Through mindfulness counseling and techniques, parents can find ways to handle their feelings of being overwhelmed. They may discover new ways to juggle home and work environments on top of managing therapies, medical needs, finances, and balancing the whole family. Researchers often see increases in verbal redirection, lower stress levels when interacting with the child, physical restraint, and an increase in patience and overall mental health state.
ABA Therapy, Counseling, and Mindfulness
Through mindfulness interventions, counseling sessions, and training during ABA therapy sessions, families and children with ASD can drastically reduce stress and anxiety levels. Counseling sessions help each member learn to develop healthy coping skills, produce positive outcomes for the entire family, and help each member create better mental health and wellness practices. And, just as your child learns new skills and behaviors through ABA therapy sessions, parents can also benefit from mindfulness training and counseling sessions to learn and strengthen techniques that will fit into their everyday routines.
Practicing Mindful Parenting
Although a more recent form of mindfulness, the idea behind mindful parenting is the same; implement mindfulness through interacting with your child intentionally and become aware of emotions, reactions, and judgments that may need adjusting. Learning mindful parenting through various counseling and mental health trainings puts the parent in the moment, leaving all preconceptions behind. This form of parenting can offer intense bonding experiences while reducing stress for you and your child.
Here at Blossom Children’s Center, we believe in a family-centered, all-encompassing approach. Our highly trained ABA therapy staff is here to provide the resources, training, and support your family needs. We encourage you to reach out and discover the many services we have to offer your child and family today.