The article, 7 Ways to Improve Sitting Tolerance in Autism, will explain how one can develop a friendly bond with an autistic child. We all know that Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a very broad term that encompasses many different disorders. While people with autism have their own set of challenges, there are some common symptoms they share in common.
One of the most common and most challenging symptoms is the inability to sit still or tolerate sitting still even in brief moments, like when waiting in line at the grocery store or at an appointment. This can be quite uncomfortable for both the person with ASD and those around them. Here are seven ways you can help improve sitting tolerance in autism and make life much easier on everyone involved!
Try Before Buying
One of your biggest considerations will be how your child does with different physical textures and temperatures. While you want something that is durable, comfortable, and easy for your child to use, you also want something that doesn’t overheat or leave a rash when touched against bare skin. Consider making a sensory bucket list with your child before heading out into stores.
Then as you look at various seating solutions in person, have them try them out and see which ones they like best by using each one for a few minutes at a time. You can talk about why they liked (or didn’t like) each texture or material used before deciding on which one works best for your family.
Use Visual Aids
For children on the spectrum, sitting still for longer periods of time can be difficult. Some children might benefit from visual aids like pictures or action figures to keep them focused during lessons. These aids serve as reminders and a way to model behavior so that your child can follow along with what is being taught. Visual aids are also helpful for teaching social skills, such as manners and appropriate table manner.
Any object that represents something you want your child to do (good manners at dinner, cleaning up after a play date) can serve as a visual aid while they’re learning how best to interact with other people and handle different situations.
Group Similar Activities Together
If your child is always busy and has trouble sitting still for a long period of time, try to group their activities together. For example, if you want them to sit for dinner, make sure that they are engaged first with some type of activity (if possible), and then give them a visual cue that dinner is ready by moving all of their place settings at once.
It can be hard at first but doing it slowly will help your child understand that dinner is ready and they have one last chance to finish what they’re doing before coming over for dinner. Reassuring your child during these times goes a long way as well. Setting timers: A great way to reduce anxiety around transitions is setting timers during transitions.
Keep it Simple
During episodes of stress, your body releases adrenaline, which activates a cascade of reactions that can cause blood pressure and heart rate to rise. If you’re an individual on the autism spectrum (or a caregiver), try a breathing technique that is both physical and mental: place one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly button, inhale for four seconds through your nose, hold for seven seconds and exhale for eight seconds through pursed lips.
This simple exercise not only calms you down physically but also allows you to take control of your thoughts. Breath work like deep breathing has been shown to lower stress levels even further. Sitting tolerance becomes much easier when you are calm!
Relax While Using Sensory Toys
Using toys that help children with sensory issues focus on other things and relax can help them learn how to sit still longer. Children who are hypersensitive to touch, sound, smell or sight often struggle with sensory overload in larger classroom settings and may want to spend more time fidgeting with their hands or tapping their feet. While it’s important not to force children into stillness if they’re uncomfortable, having tools available that they can use while they’re working hard will provide a solution.
Some great examples of these types of toys include Fidget Spinners and Slinky Balls. The idea behind these toys is that your child’s brain has something else it can process and focus on instead of paying attention to what everyone else is doing around him; he doesn’t have room for both!
Build Up Little by Little
Over time, working up to longer and more strenuous exercise sessions has been shown to be better for physical fitness. But when it comes to cognitive activities, like practicing your instrument or learning a language, consistency may help you learn. Try doing 10 minutes of practice every day.
Little by little you’ll see improvements—and soon enough, one day it will feel as if you never skipped a beat! Be patient: Don’t expect too much from yourself at first! If you’re just starting out with a new interest or activity, remember that practice makes progress. Learning something new doesn’t happen overnight—but if you keep practicing little by little over time, your improvement is inevitable!
Trial and Error
Develop a routine with rewards. This is more time consuming than other methods, but still works well. Begin by spending five minutes engaged in a behavior of your choosing: play with toys, read a book, watch TV, sing songs and so on. The goal here is to choose something enjoyable that you can do for short periods of time. If you like them, consider rewarding yourself with special treats such as sugary snacks or activities. Find one that you like and try it out for several days; if it doesn’t work well for you, try another type of reward system until you find one that does.