Skip to main content

During times of change and uncertainty, emotions can run high and it can be difficult to calm down. When we’re stressed, we all benefit from having strategies we’ve learned and practiced to help us cope. For individuals with autism, we can use their strength in visual learning to teach them ways to calm both their minds and bodies. Each individual is unique, so use their interests and preferences to choose which activities to include within a calming routine.

Think about your favorite topics (ex: trains, animals, etc.) Squeeze a squeeze ball
Draw Smell the flower, blow out the candle (see example below)
Color Blow pinwheels
Read jokes or preferred books Use sensory fidgets or materials (touch, hear, see)
Count to 20 Yoga and movement
Sing a song Deep pressure or squeezes
Mindfulness/Meditation Heavy work
Writing/Journaling Exercise

flower candle relax image

Pick 3 or 4 activities and visually show what order to complete them in. You can do this by laying items out in the order you’d like for the individual to complete them, using post-it notes with pictures and writing, or making a list. This lets the individual know exactly what they need to be doing during “relax time.”

Helpful Hints

  • There is no “one right way” to make a calming routine- find what is really relaxing for the individual and use that!
  • Teach and practice the routine the same way each day, especially when calm.
  • Practice the routine in the same place each day. This place should be quiet and as free from distractions as possible.
  • Do the routine as a family, so that the individual can learn from you and you can do something fun together!

In times of uncertainty, everyone benefits from predictability!