A Note on Downloads

The content in this entire Coping With Autism page can be downloaded as part of a single document below.

Also, downloadable from this page is 'Matt's Daily Health Guide', my attempt to summarize general health related behaviors that I think everyone should consider. There are many recommendations therein that can be used to guide your care of your child, and yourself.

Arousal Modulation

Chronic arousal problems are usually seen in autism. As a parent, you need to help minimize their impact on your child as best you can. In order to help your child wake up and prepare for the day, build family exercise into your morning ritual. Meditate or use relaxation techniques with your child before going to bed. This may simply involve reading them a book, giving them a hug, and tucking them in. Or, it may require more. To the extent that you cannot reshape your child’s arousal states, reshape the world around them. Don’t force them to get up at 6:30 to get to a school that starts early, if that causes them undue problems – autistic individuals often have stress induced imbalances in the circadian cycles that determine whether they are drowsy. Forcing them to comply with a morning start time because of how someone set a schedule may cause unnecessary daily stress. Consider finding a different school. Don’t make them go to bed when they have shown consistently they are not ready just because that was how you were brought up. They may just not be ready, and having to lie in bed every night awake to please a parent is only going to add stress to their life. Be flexible and try to understand what is really going on with them.

Also, exercise again plays into this step. As the diabetic depends on insulin shots to regulate arousal level, autistic individuals need regular exercise to regulate arousal level. Exercise is the fuel your body needs to operate correctly. Though not as intense as other exercise, walking holds many benefits for the mind as well as the body. The cross-patterned movement of our limbs – right arm and left leg, then left arm and right leg – generates electrical activity in the brain, boosting serotonin and harmonizing the nervous system.


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