Wednesday, June 13, 2012

De-Cluttering and Slowing Down With Autism in Your Life

One of the wonderful aspects of RDI® is that it aims to improve the quality of life not only your child and you but also your lifestyle in general as a family. Having a fast past life and cluttered home tends to have an impact on a number of factors...
For the child, being in cluttered spaces can result in the child becoming easily distracted by other objects around the house and these distractions that the child engages in can be competing with your attention therefore making it more difficult to make progress in making connections and building your relationship. In a cluttered environment it can also make it difficult for the child to make sense of the home environment if cluttered space means chaos, therefore resulting in a more dynamic space and too many elements to process, leaving the child feeling over stimulated, which for some, can result in the child using more static behaviours and coping strategies to deal with the anxiety that it may bring. When the environment is more organised and de-cluttered the child will be more ready to interact.
For parent(s), cluttered spaces not only mean loosing things and being unorganised, therefore spending ages looking for them, so it wastes your time, but also psychologically, seeing mess can make you feel overwhelmed as it reminds you how much you have to do. Cluttered home, cluttered mind; if you deal with things there and then or even just write things down you will find that your mind is freed up for thinking space. As mentioned in the paragraph above parent(s) end up competing with objects for their child's attention making it more difficult to share experiences and focus on your objectives.
Some children with autism find a fast paced life too much, too quick to process. When they are not given enough time to process the environment and interactions they do not have time to stop and study the productive uncertainties and opportunities provided to them in the world to help improve their emotional IQ. When the schedule is really busy there may be limited or no time for relaxing, experience sharing and exploring the environment and interactions with people. An overscheduled child may have difficulties with (quote from book). When life is going too fast for some children with autism this can mean its easier because everyone else around them compensates for them to keep them up to speed. This is not working on the deficits of autism this is compensating, which in the long run doesn't help the child.
When parents are overscheduled and living a fast paced life it could eventually lead to 'burn out'! You may have experienced this already, some of the signs of 'burn out' are; needing sugar and caffeine to keep you going through the day, feeling exhausted, stressed and tired all the time, possibly leading to depression, feeling negative about things, feeling ill or being ill frequently, immune system is low therefore the body is feeling or acting run down (poor skin, hair loss, boils, spots, tummy upset etc). Listen to your body as its telling you it needs to slow down to continue. A common issue with families is where parent(s) spend a lot of their time acting as a chauffer going from one place to the next and not getting enough quality time with their child to build their relationship and progress. It is important to factor in time for your self, all children, and your partner and as a family. Sometimes, schedules need de-cluttering and prioritising to get the most out of each day successfully.
Are you heading towards burn out?
- Been ill more than twice in one year
- Body signs telling you its run down
- Feeling exhausted
- Feeling tired most of the time
- Feeling stressed and anxious
Do you need to reschedule the family?
- Spend too much time driving about
- You and/ or child has too much screen time
- You don't have quality time with your child(ren) every day
- You cant remember the last time you/ and partner went out/ did something you wanted to do.
Elisa Ferriggi, Think Autism Ltd, is dedicated to empowering parents to feel competent in raising their child with autism to improve quality of life. By addressing the core deficits of autism and unlocking potential children are able to develop milestones required to connect with others and establish true relationships. Elisa Ferriggi has been involved in the autism field since 2003 and is trained in the following approaches Relationship Development Intervention (RDI), Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), Holistic Approach to Neuro-Developmental Learning Efficiency (HANDLE) Introductory Activities Coach, The Listening Program (TLP) Certified Provider. For more information on how Think Autism can support your family please visit
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