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20 Expert Ways to Help a Child with Autism Calm Down

how to help a child with autism calm down

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a condition that impairs a person’s communication, social interactions, and behavior. Children with autism might get overwhelmed by things like noise or changes in routine, leading to feelings of anxiety or meltdowns. Calming them down in these moments can be tough, but there are ways to help them feel better and avoid things getting worse.

Here are 15 helpful tips for calming a child with autism. These tips can create a more peaceful and supportive environment for them.

1. Identify Triggers

Understanding what triggers your child’s meltdowns is crucial when you calm a child with autism. Keep a record of any situations, sensory stimuli, or activities that appear to induce distress. This awareness will help you anticipate and potentially avoid or minimize exposure to those triggers.

2. Create a Calm Environment

Children with autism frequently have sensory sensitivity, and a cluttered or noisy environment can exacerbate their suffering. To help a child with autism calm down, create a calm, quiet space with minimal stimuli where your child can retreat when feeling overwhelmed.

3. Use Visual Cues

Visual aids are effective for many autistic children. Develop a simple system of pictures or symbols that your child can use to communicate their needs or emotions when feeling overwhelmed.

4. Teach Deep Breathing Exercises

Deep breathing can be an effective way to calm an autistic child. To encourage controlled breathing, teach your child simple breathing techniques, such as counting breaths or using a visual aid like a squeeze ball or bubbles.

5. Implement a Sensory Diet

A sensory diet involves a planned and scheduled series of activities designed to meet your child’s specific sensory needs. This can include activities that provide proprioceptive (deep pressure), vestibular (movement), or tactile (touch) input, which can have a calming effect.

6. Use Weighted Blankets or Vests

Weighted blankets or vests can provide deep pressure input, which can be soothing to autistic youngsters. Begin with a little weight and gradually increase as your child gets used to the sensation.

7. Offer Fidget Toys

Fidget toys, such as stress balls, putty, or textured objects, can provide a calming sensory input and help redirect your child’s energy when feeling overwhelmed. You can also use these toys to calm down a hyper-autistic child

8. Encourage Physical Activity

Physical activity can help relieve stress and promote calm. To help a child with autism calm down, engage your child in activities like jumping on a trampoline, going for a walk, or doing simple stretches or yoga poses.

9. Implement a Reward System

Develop a reward system that reinforces positive behaviors and encourages your child to use calming strategies. Praise and reward efforts to self-regulate, even if they are small steps.

10. Use Calming Music or White Noise

Soothing music or white noise can help block out external stimuli and create a calming auditory environment that can calm a child with autism. Try different sounds until you find the one that your child likes the most.

11. Practice Mindfulness

Techniques Mindfulness exercises, such as guided imagery or body scans, can help your child become more aware of their emotions and physical sensations, promoting self-regulation.

12. Offer a Calming Object

Some children with autism find comfort in holding or squeezing a familiar object, such as a stuffed animal or stress ball. Encourage your child to use this calming object when feeling overwhelmed.

13. Use Social Stories

Social stories are short, simple narratives that describe a situation or appropriate behavior. To calm down an autistic child, create a social story specifically for calming down an autistic child, using pictures and language your child can understand.

14. Seek Professional Support

If your child has frequent or serious meltdowns, you might want to get help from an experienced professional like a counselor or behavior therapist. They can provide personalized strategies and guidance based on your child’s specific needs.

15. Be Patient and Consistent

Helping a child with autism calm down requires patience and consistency. Enjoy the little wins, and don’t give up if a plan doesn’t work right away. Finding the right mix of methods might take time and practice.

16. Provide a Safe Space

It’s important to have a safe place for your child to go during a meltdown so they can calm down without hurting themselves or others. This place could be a tent set up in a quiet area, a cozy spot, or a room with little noise.

17. Use Positive Reinforcement

When your child successfully uses calming strategies or displays positive behaviors, reinforce these actions with praise, rewards, or other forms of positive reinforcement. This encourages them to repeat these desirable behaviors in the future.

18. Teach Emotional Regulation Skills

Children with autism can benefit from learning emotional regulation skills, such as identifying and labeling their feelings, recognizing physical cues associated with emotions, and practicing appropriate coping mechanisms. This might help them understand and handle their feelings better.

19. Collaborate with Teachers and Caregivers

If your child spends time in school or with other caregivers, collaborate with them to ensure consistent implementation of calming strategies. Share techniques that work well at home and seek their input on strategies that may be effective in their environments.

20. Seek Support for Yourself

It can be hard on both your mind and body to care for a child with autism. Don’t forget to take care of yourself by seeking support from other parents, joining support groups, or considering counseling or respite care when needed. Helping a child is easier for a parent who has a lot of support.

Every child with autism is unique, so what helps one child may not help another. Stay open to trying different approaches and be flexible in your strategies. Learning how to calm down an autistic child takes time, understanding, and the right tools. This will allow you to support your child in developing effective coping mechanisms and create a peaceful, supportive environment for their growth and well-being.


  • Diane Silva

    Diane is a travel enthusiast, content creator, and master storyteller, capturing her adventures through captivating blogs and engaging vlogs. With a passion for the great outdoors and a love for literature, she brings a unique perspective to the travel world. Whether she's exploring hidden gems or discussing the latest trends, Diane is your go-to source for all things travel and beyond.