How to Help an Autistic Child Cope With Traumatic Events

After traumatic events, an autistic child can feel distressed, irritation, or withdrawal. Their behavior might shift as well. Some of the children might react several weeks or months after the traumatic incident has occurred. These children will consequently require extra support.

How Children Respond to Traumatic Events

Traumatic events imply incidents such as car crashes, sudden deaths or diagnoses, and other shocking and sudden events. Children with autism might respond to these incidents in a number of different ways:

  • Facing difficulty in sleeping
  • Staying away from events which make them recall the event
  • Having flashbacks or nightmares of the incident
  • Seeming blank and/or absent-minded
  • Acting distressed, irritated or withdrawn
  • Being more aggressive with other children while playing
  • Performing the same actions repeatedly

These outcomes are common after a traumatic event, however they do not occur straight away. They might happen after several weeks or months, when they come to realize how things have changed in their surroundings. For most children with an autism diagnosis, things can improve in a couple of months with complete support of their parents. 

Recalling of Traumatic Events for Children with Autism

Your child might feel afraid after these traumatic events occur. It is essential in helping them through the trauma by explaining that it is natural to feel fearful or upset, and that the incident might not happen again. This will help your child to feel safe. In fact, this is also coming into focus by way of autism support in UAE, as it aims to improve infrastructure to cater to the recovery from traumatic events. The following techniques can help out your child through their trauma:

  • Cheer up your child
  • Make use of a social story
  • Perform a mindfulness activity

Unpredictability and Children After Traumatic Events

Life after sudden or shocking incidents is usually unpredictable and changes in routine can be specifically distressing for children with autism. A child might need focused help to acknowledge and express their emotions. Some of them might feel quiet or withdrawn, whereas some might reveal their feelings through challenging behavior. However, there are several ways to help them manage their emotions:

  • Assist your child in naming their feelings
  • Become a role model for your child in learning to name and respond to emotions
  • Talk about distinct emotions with your child to assist them in understanding how they are feeling
  • Try making use of some sensory, soothing activities to refresh the mind of your child

Where To Go From Here

Recovering after a traumatic event is very time-consuming, and you may find yourself in need of a health professional who already works with your child. Consult with your child’s general practitioner if you have any concerns related to how your child is coping with their trauma. We at Small Steps Big Dreams in Dubai, UAE aim to help every autistic child by providing them the best facilities to thrive in spite of the traumatic events they may have faced in life. 

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