The Autism Discussion Page on stress, anxiety, shutdowns and meltdowns : proactive strategies for minimizing sensory, social and emotional overload book is written by Bill Nason, a name that needs no introduction in the world of Autism. This is the third book that is based on his highly informative Facebook posts. If you’re a new parent in the Autism world or someone who has lived with or is a caregiver for an autistic person, his books are my first recommendation.
There are sixteen chapters in this book and the topics covered are Autism as an information processing disorder, brain drain from processing strain, stress and distress, anxiety, rigidity, oppositional and defiant behaviour, coping skills, shutdowns and meltdowns, sensory overload, social challenges, executive dysfunction and many more.
This book is truly a treasure trove and I don’t have any particular chapter I liked. I loved the whole book for the Autism friendly voice that constantly urges us to understand the world from their perspective, tons of helpful suggestions and strategies. Let’s consider the chapter – Autism and anxiety. The author talks about the seven forms of anxiety common to many on the spectrum:
- sensory/informational overload
- anxiety of uncertainity
- social anxiety
- performance anxiety
- anticipatory anxiety
- diffused generalized anxiety and
- separation anxiety
I am sure many of you have experienced these forms of anxiety in our children . He goes on to explain each one in details with many strategies and suggestion to help our kids. He also lists a few general guidelines to help minimize anxiety in our children – that include diet, sleep, rest, exercise, sensory diet, relaxation techniques, favourite activities, self-stimulation and also talks about Cognitive behaviour therapy.
In the chapter on Social challenges, the author describes the three phases of empathy that I found very interesting. The first one is Affective empathy, the process that is often described by many Autistic adults as – an overwhelming feeling where they can intensely feel the emotions of others and they are often unable to differentiate if the emotion is their own or others’. The second one Cognitive empathy i.e., using theory of mind to infer the thoughts, feelings, perspectives and what the person is experiencing. The third one is Sympathy, i.e., compassion and desire to help the person once they understand what they are experiencing. Many Autistics have difficulty with the cognitive empathy part, they don’t lack empathy but are missing a phase in the process of understanding!
A really, really good book. Don’t miss it. You can purchase it on Amazon India
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