How to Help a Child With Autism Calm Down in the Classroom


How to Help a Child With Autism Calm Down in the Classroom

Autism is a developmental disorder that affects communication, social interaction, and behavior. Children with autism often find it challenging to manage their emotions, leading to increased stress and anxiety. In a classroom setting, where routine changes and sensory stimuli can be overwhelming, it is crucial to provide support and strategies to help these children calm down. In this article, we will explore effective ways to assist a child with autism in finding calmness in the classroom.

1. Establish a Structured Environment:
Children with autism thrive in structured environments that provide predictability and routine. Ensure that the classroom is organized and consistent, with clearly defined rules and schedules. Visual aids, such as visual schedules or charts, can help the child understand and anticipate what will happen next. By establishing a structured environment, you create a sense of security and stability for the child.

2. Create a Safe Space:
Designate a quiet area in the classroom where the child can retreat when feeling overwhelmed. This space should be free from distractions and provide sensory comfort. Fill the area with calming tools like soft cushions, weighted blankets, or stress balls. Encourage the child to use this space to take a break when they feel the need to calm down.

3. Implement Visual Supports:
Visual supports are essential for children with autism as they often rely on visual cues to understand and process information. Visual supports can include visual schedules, social stories, or visual cues displayed around the classroom. These supports help the child understand expectations and reduce anxiety by providing clear visual guidance.

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4. Teach Self-Regulation Techniques:
Teaching children with autism self-regulation techniques can empower them to manage their emotions. Breathing exercises, counting techniques, or using calming strategies like squeezing a stress ball can be helpful. Practice these techniques regularly, so the child becomes familiar with them and can use them independently when needed.

5. Understand Sensory Triggers:
Children with autism are often sensitive to sensory stimuli, such as loud noises, bright lights, or certain textures. Identify the child’s sensory triggers and make necessary accommodations. For example, if the child is sensitive to noise, provide noise-canceling headphones. If bright lights are overwhelming, create a dimly lit area in the classroom. Understanding and addressing sensory triggers can significantly reduce stress levels.

6. Encourage Communication:
Communication is crucial for children with autism to express their needs and emotions effectively. Encourage the child to communicate their feelings, whether through verbal or non-verbal means. Provide alternative methods of communication, such as visual aids, sign language, or assistive technology if needed. By creating an open line of communication, you can better understand the child’s needs and provide appropriate support.

7. Collaborate with Parents and Professionals:
Working closely with parents and professionals, such as occupational therapists or speech-language pathologists, is crucial for the child’s overall development. Share strategies and information to ensure consistency between home and school environments. Collaborating with professionals can also provide additional resources and expertise to address the child’s specific needs.


Q: How long does it take for these strategies to show results?
A: The effectiveness of these strategies may vary for each child. It is essential to be patient and persistent. Some children may respond quickly, while others may require more time to adjust and benefit from these strategies.

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Q: Are there any classroom accommodations that can help?
A: Yes, there are various accommodations that can be implemented in the classroom. These may include preferential seating, additional breaks, modified assignments, or a reduced sensory environment.

Q: What if these strategies do not seem to work?
A: Every child with autism is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. If the strategies mentioned in this article do not seem to be effective, it is important to seek guidance from professionals who can provide individualized support and recommendations.

In conclusion, supporting a child with autism in calming down in the classroom requires a structured environment, visual supports, self-regulation techniques, sensory accommodations, and open communication. By implementing these strategies and collaborating with parents and professionals, we can create a nurturing environment that promotes the child’s well-being and success.