In supporting teenage clients with autism we often incorporate calming strategies as part of their ABA programming objectives. Much of this includes intraverbal questions or scenarios that aims to help the learner role play alternative responses to destructive behavior.
One of the teens I work with often gets stuck and has trouble brainstorming multiple ideas or has a hard time expanding on what to do when the need to use calming strategies arises.
The following app is super helpful in helping teens with identifying self-monitoring ideas. Additionally it is a resource a teen can access on their mobile device when support is not available or they have generalized the skill to their own self-management.
It is a free resource you can download on a mobile device.
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with the app developers nor do I receive any incentive for promoting this app. It is a supplemental resource I’ve found to be helpful.
Who can use the resource?
- Parents and teachers can use this resource in helping teens with emotional regulation or distress tolerance.
- All kids can benefit from calming strategies.
- Kids with autism who are learning effective strategies in place of destructive behaviors.
How to use the resource:
- Help the learner understand the wave of emotions.
- Discuss with the learner the importance between recognizing emotions and separating our response from them. All feelings are okay but how we react outwardly or allow feelings to guide our private thoughts are not always helpful.
- Walk them through the various calming ideas within the app. Help them identify ones they think might be useful to them but understand not all of them are required. They are options.
- Encourage the teen to use the random button if they are up for it. The added thrill may build motivation if the teen finds it rewarding. The teen I work with loves playing Yahtzee and the thrill of what the dice will land on which she consistently kicks her therapists butts at playing. ❤️
- Help them understand they can always choose the strategy that fits them best in the moment.
We have definitely used the pillow strategy during therapy.
It is not uncommon for parents or adults of teens we work with to disclose a mental health challenge of their own which is particularly prevalent with in-home support in which an ABA team spends a significant amount of time along side our learners caregivers.
While our support is not directed to their treatment I’m not afraid to encourage them to use the same strategies we are teaching their child for their own benefit.
Calming strategies are largely incorporated in other behavioral therapies such as ACT (Act and Commitment Therapy), CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and DBT (Dialectic Behavioral Therapy).
A more advanced monthly billed resource for an adult will expand on all areas of behavioral change. Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with the app developers nor do I receive any incentive for promoting the resource. It is a supplemental resource I’ve found to be helpful. Supplemental in addition to comprehensive treatment in group and individual settings.
I’m a firm believer in the notion that boundaries are absolutely applicable when it comes to our own mental health. There comes a point when we have to decide we’ve given enough to our own behavior chains that have formed over time. A series of responses which essentially become automatic yet have not served us effectively.
By all means a complicated task indeed but not an impossible one. ❤️
Loved By Grace,