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Stress Management

Many children on the autism spectrum may experience heightened stress levels due to challenges related to sensory sensitivities, difficulties in communication, changes in routine, and social interactions. Implementing effective stress management strategies can significantly improve their overall functioning. Techniques such as visual schedules, sensory breaks, and social stories can help regulate their sensory experiences and reduce anxiety. Additionally, teaching and reinforcing coping mechanisms can empower children with autism to better navigate stressful situations. A well-managed stress environment contributes to improved focus, communication, and overall quality of life for children with autism.

Fostering Resilience: The Positive Impact of Stress Management for Children with Autism

Addressing stress management for children with autism helps create a more supportive and predictable environment, easing the challenges associated with sensory sensitivities and disruptions to routine. Improved stress management contributes to enhanced emotional regulation, reducing the likelihood of meltdowns and promoting more stable emotional well-being. By providing coping strategies such as deep breathing exercises and sensory breaks, children with autism gain valuable tools to navigate and self-regulate in various situations. This, in turn, fosters better focus, communication skills, and social interactions, contributing to an overall improvement in their quality of life. 

These strategies, when implemented together, create a comprehensive support system for children with autism, fostering a more inclusive and accommodating environment that aligns with their unique needs and preferences. It's important to note that the effectiveness of coping techniques can vary among individuals with autism, so it may be helpful to explore different strategies to identify what works best for each child. Consistency and positive reinforcement play key roles in reinforcing the use of these techniques and building a child's ability to self-regulate in times of stress.

Arms Stretched Out

Deep Breathing Exercises

Teach children slow, deep breaths to promote relaxation. Inhale deeply through the nose, hold for a few seconds, and exhale slowly through the mouth.

Implementation: Practice deep breathing regularly, and encourage its use when the child is feeling anxious or overwhelmed.

Playing with Fidget Spinner

Sensory Tools

Offer sensory items such as stress balls, fidget spinners, or textured objects that provide tactile stimulation and a sense of comfort.

Implementation: Allow the child to use these tools as needed, especially in situations where sensory input may be overwhelming.


Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques

Introduce simple mindfulness exercises, such as guided imagery or mindfulness meditation, to help children stay present and manage stress.

Implementation: Guide the child through short, age-appropriate mindfulness exercises, focusing on breathing or imagining a calming place. Considering using a wind chime or peaceful music.

Smiling Kid

Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)

Guide children to tense and then relax different muscle groups systematically. This technique promotes physical relaxation, which can have a calming effect.

Implementation: Provide simple instructions for tensing and relaxing muscles, starting from the toes and progressing up to the head.

Child at Psychologist

Visual Supports for Emotions

Use visual supports like emotion charts or emotion cards to help children identify and express their feelings.


Implementation: Encourage the child to point to or indicate the emotion they are experiencing. This enhances emotional awareness and communication.


Break Cards

Provide the child with break cards they can use to communicate the need for a break when feeling overwhelmed. This empowers them to self-advocate.


Implementation: Teach the child how to use break cards and ensure that caregivers and educators are aware and responsive to these cues.

Unlocking Calm: Relief in Autistic Children

Embarking on a journey to support your autistic child in stress relief? Discover two simple yet impactful techniques: eye palming and the glitter jar. Incorporating these practices into your child's routine can empower them with effective tools for self-regulation and relaxation. Stay tuned to learn more about these stress-relief methods and how they can make a positive difference in your child's well-being.

Glitter Jar.jpeg

Glitter Jar

The glitter jar is a portable and reusable stress-relief tool that can be used at home, in school, or any other environment. It provides a non-verbal and engaging way for children with autism to manage stress and develop self-regulation skills. Additionally, caregivers and educators can work collaboratively to introduce and integrate the use of glitter jars into the child's routine.

How to Make a Glitter Jar


  • Clear plastic or glass jar with a tight-fitting lid

  • Clear liquid glue or glycerin

  • Warm water

  • Fine glitter in various colors

  • Small decorative objects (optional)


  1. Fill the jar about one-third full with warm water.

  2. Add a generous amount of glitter to the water.

  3. Add a small amount of clear liquid glue or glycerin to slow down the movement of the glitter. Experiment with the amount to achieve the desired effect.

  4. Optionally, add small decorative objects like plastic gems or sequins.

  5. Fill the rest of the jar with warm water, leaving some space at the top to allow for movement.

  6. Close the lid tightly and seal it with strong glue to prevent leaks.

How to Use a Glitter Jar

  1. Shaking the Jar:

    • When a child is feeling stressed or overwhelmed, they can shake the glitter jar gently and watch as the glitter swirls and settles.

  2. Focus on the Glitter:

    • Instruct the child to focus on the glitter as it moves and gradually settles. This can help shift their attention away from stressors.

  3. Deep Breathing:

    • Encourage deep breathing while watching the glitter. Inhale as the glitter rises and exhale as it settles.

  4. Sensory Distraction:

    • The visual and sensory stimulation from the glitter jar serves as a calming and distracting tool, helping the child regulate their emotions.

  5. Quiet Reflection:

    • After the glitter settles, the child can use the quiet moment to reflect on their feelings and regain composure.


Eye Palming

Eye palming is a relaxation technique that involves covering the eyes with the palms of the hands to create a warm, dark environment. This technique is not exclusive to children with autism but can be used as a stress reliever for individuals of all ages. The idea behind eye palming is to reduce visual stimuli and promote a sense of calmness and relaxation.


How to Complete an Eye Palming Excercise

  1. Create a Comfortable Environment:

    • Find a quiet and comfortable space for the child.

    • Ensure the lighting is soft, and there are minimal distractions.

  2. Sit Comfortably:

    • Have the child sit comfortably in a chair or on the floor.

  3. Rub Palms Together:

    • Instruct the child to rub their palms together vigorously for a few seconds to generate warmth.

  4. Cover Eyes:

    • Gently cup the palms of the hands and place them over the closed eyes without applying pressure. The fingers may overlap on the forehead.

  5. Deep Breathing:

    • Encourage the child to take slow, deep breaths while their eyes are covered. Inhale deeply through the nose and exhale slowly through the mouth.

  6. Relax and Breathe:

    • Have the child continue deep breathing and remain in this position for a minute or two, or until they feel a sense of relaxation.

  7. Release Palms:

    • Slowly release the hands and allow the child to open their eyes gradually.

Eye palming is thought to provide a moment of sensory relief, as it reduces visual input and creates a calming sensation through the warmth of the hands.


For children with autism who may be sensitive to visual stimuli, this technique can serve as a simple and accessible way to take a break and self-regulate during times of stress or overwhelm.

As with any relaxation technique, it's essential to introduce it gently and observe how the child responds. Some children may find this method soothing, while others may prefer different approaches. Additionally, it's advisable to consult with caregivers and professionals to ensure that the chosen stress-relief techniques align with the individual needs and preferences of the child.



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